New public polling published today (Thursday, 21 February 2019) by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) reveals that less than a quarter of people would support weakening limits on earthquakes caused by fracking. More than twice as many people support the rules as they stand.
More than half of all respondents to a survey commissioned by CPRE believe that the government should prioritise the concerns of the general public when making decisions on whether or not to weaken regulations, while just one person in 25 believes that the views of the fracking industry should take precedent.
Despite these overwhelming public concerns, just 13 percent of respondents feel the government is listening to the public on the issue of fracking; more than half (51%) believe they are being ignored. The government’s own data, published earlier this month, shows that support for fracking is the lowest it has been.
The poll, which was carried out by YouGov on the behalf of the countryside charity, follows a series of calls from fracking companies for the government to loosen regulations that force them to stop fracking if it causes earthquakes with a magnitude of 0.5 or above.
In response to demands from industry, the government has said that it does not intend to review earthquake regulations, stating: ‘We set these regulations in consultation with industry and we have no plans to review them.’ However, despite these comments, there have been more recent reports that a review is on the horizon  with fresh calls from industry that included a direct plea to the Prime Minister .
Tom Fyans, deputy chief executive at CPRE, said: "The public has made it abundently clear that they do not want earthquake regulations to be weakened. But given that they don't believe that the government is listening to their concerns over fracking – at a time when we are facing the unprecedented threat of climate change – it is imperative that action is taken to restore public faith.
"If the government rolls over on this latest bout of industry lobbying and relaxes these standards to make way for more fracking – which exist to protect the public, our countryside and environment – it will only ramp up public opposition to new heights.
"At a time when government proposals threaten to impose fast-tracked fracking over communities’ heads, it is crucial that it reassures the public that it is taking their concerns seriously."
CPRE believes the government must reassure the public by issuing a definitive statement confirming that it will not weaken regulations that pause fracking when it causes earthquakes with a magnitude of 0.5 or above.
This article is based on a press release from the Campaign to Protect Rural England.