Monday 15 August 2016 6:04 am

Government plans for fracking payments fail to entice public

Government plans for sizeable payouts to households located near fracking sites haven't been enough to whet the public's appetite for the controversial process.

The Shale Wealth Fund, which could be worth up to £1bn and result in individual households receiving as much as £10,000, was unveiled by Prime Minister Theresa May last week.

Read more: Third Energy gets fracking go-ahead in North Yorkshire

But a YouGov survey, published today, has shown that only 33 per cent of people polled would support fracking in their local area even if households were paid up to £10,000.

Meanwhile, 43 per cent "strongly" or "tend to" oppose fracking, while a quarter remained "unsure".

Fracking involves drilling deep and then shooting a high-pressure water mix into rocks to release the gas inside. But critics say it could contaminate the local water supply and curb any local tourism.

Liz Hutchins, senior political strategist at Friends of the Earth, said: "The government are desperate to show support for shale gas exploration, and recent headlines that offered cash payments were meant to bolster, not diminish, support."

Read more: The UK's been negligently slow to frack – but it has more promise than ever

"But when you look at the details of the scheme, any cash for households would only be after shale exploration, and would be derived from taxation on profits. It all seems a pretty unlikely and distant proposition."

Critics argue affected homeowners would not receive any cash until the fracking industry is in full swing — and shale gas company Cuadrilla has previously said it would take at least five years of exploration before production could begin at large.