Half of Britons against shale gas drilling in vicinity - poll

LONDON Wed Jan 15, 2014 10:31am EST

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LONDON Jan 15 (Reuters) - Nearly half of Britons polled in a study said they would be unhappy to have shale gas fracking carried out within 10 miles of their home.

The government is actively supporting the development of shale gas, an uncoventional fossil fuel extracted by blasting chemicals, sand and water into rock formations, a method also known as fracking.

The government is counting on shale gas production to help it reduce import dependency, but the technology has seen fierce opposition from green activists and local residents who claim it damages the environment.

The Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) poll showed just 14 percent of 2,000 Britons asked were happy to have shale gas exploration close to their homes and that 47 percent were not happy.

As many as 30 percent said they had no understanding of what fracking was.

"Building trust between government, industry and communities is essential if we wish to make use of this technique in shale rocks under the UK," said Tim Fox, head of energy and environment at the institution.

The government has announced community incentives to boost shale gas support, such as a 100,000-pound compensation package and a community fund made up of a percentage of the revenue from drilled wells. (Reporting by Karolin Schaps; editing by Stephen Addison)

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