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Fracking support falls after protests in Balcombe in Sussex
Public support for fracking has fallen since protests in Sussex last summer, a survey has found.
This is despite promises of financial payments to communities who allow shale gas development.
The University of Nottingham survey revealed backing for the controversial technology, which involves pumping liquid at high pressure deep underground to fracture rock and release gas, has been on the slide since the protests in Balcombe which cost Sussex Police about £4m to police.
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The latest in a series of surveys on public perceptions of the issue has shown concerns over water pollution as a result of fracking have continued to increase.
Worries about water contamination were declining before the Balcombe protests, but it formed a key issue for protesters worried that energy company Cuadrilla would frack in their area.
The survey of 3,751 people this month found those who had heard of fracking, 43% associated it with water contamination compared to 27% who did not.
Contamination In July, before the protests, 35% |of people associated fracking with |contaminating water, and 30% did|not, a gap of just five percentage points.
But the split grew, with those concerned about contamination outstripping those who did not associate fracking with the issue by 11 percentage points in September, with the gap now standing at 16 percentage points.
Fewer people now consider shale gas to be a clean energy source either, with 30% thinking it was clean, compared to 43% who did not.
In July last year, 34% of people considered shale a clean energy source, while 37% did not, the research by the University of Nottingham found.
Half of those polled who had heard of fracking think shale is cheap, compared to 27% who do not.
Six months ago it was seen as cheap by 55%.
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