A new poll reveals that young people in the UK have shunned shale gas and voted fracking as the energy source they are least in favour of, with 71% agreeing that it will create environmental problems in the UK if it were to go ahead, including endangering wildlife and natural habitats.
The survey of 18-24 year olds which has been carried out by YouGov for Talk Fracking highlights young people’s concerns about fracking, including how it could effect the UK’s economy, house prices and environment as well as our health and wellbeing. A clear majority of those surveyed (74%) believe fracking will decrease the value of properties in areas where it will occur and a total of 74% would never/prefer not to purchase a house near a fracking site.
Fracking was voted the second least popular energy option and young people said they would like the government to focus on renewables over the next few years instead. Fracking was at the top of the list of undesired energy supplies for the UK with a 45% share of votes, followed by nuclear power (37%) and conventional gas (31%).
Talk Fracking commissioned the research to highlight the voices of young people in the UK who are being left behind in this important conversation, empowering the next generation and preventing them from having to deal with the potentially devastating effects of fracking should it go ahead.
Fracking’s potential effects on the environment proved to be another area of concern for young people. In fact, only 1% of young people surveyed believe fracking definitely will not have a negative effect on the environment. Health concerns as a result of fracking are also important to respondents. Half of 18-24 year olds (49%) believe fracking will cause health problems in the UK, for example by polluting water supplies. Far fewer young people who completed the survey thought it wouldn’t (29%) and only 7% of young people seemed sure it would definitely not cause health problems.
Joseph Corre from Talk Fracking said: “Our youth have made their voices heard loud and clear with their answers to this survey. They have told us they have genuine concerns about fracking that must be addressed. They are the ones who will inherit the earth and will have to deal with the frontline effects that fracking could cause. It is our duty to ensure we do the right thing for them. Not only has the government failed to attend our Talk Fracking public debates to answer these concerns, they are even censoring reports on the issue so the British public are unable to find out the answers they want – such as the recent report they redacted, ‘Shale Gas: Rural Economy Impacts’. The issue of fracking and its impact in the UK must be an election issue, we need to be informed how each party will both answer the public’s concerns and review the legality of fracking before it changes the UK landscape forever – something our youth have now called for too.”
At a time when youth engagement with politics is more important then ever, over a third (34%) of 18-24 year olds say that they are more likely to vote for a party who promises to review the legality of fracking in the UK. This was of particular importance to Liberal Democrat and Labour supporters – nearly half (45%) of young people who voted Liberal Democrat in the 2010 elections say they would be more likely to vote for a party who promised to review the legality of fracking and over a third (36%) of young people surveyed who are likely to vote Labour in the next general election said that a promise of review could affect their vote. So fracking, it appears, will be an issue that parties should ignore at their peril at the next general election.
About the survey:
YouGov questioned 1,003 18-24 year olds online between 1st and 9th September 2014. Percentages given refer to the 809 respondents who understood or were aware of the term fracking. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18-24).