Ministers urged to hold firm on fracking as part of energy mix as opposition mounts

Prime Minister David Cameron is taken on a guided tour of the IGas shale drilling plant oil depot ne

Prime Minister David Cameron is taken on a guided tour of the IGas shale drilling plant oil depot near Gainsborough, Lincolnshire. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday January 13, 2014. French oil giant Total announced that it will become the first major oil company to explore for shale gas in Britain, confirming a report in The Financial Times. The Financial Times had reported that Total would announce the deal in which Singapore-based Dart Energy and UK-listed Igas and Edgdon resources are also partners in the project. See PA story POLITICS Fracking. Photo credit should read: Lindsey Parnaby/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Ministers are being urged to hold their nerve and not run scared of exploiting a full mix of technologies from fracking to nuclear to coal gassification to meet the UK's energy needs.

The scale of opposition businesses and ministers face over fracking has been underscored in a YouGov poll for Greenpeace outlining widespread opposition across voters of all parties to plans to change trespass laws to allow shale gas companies to drill under homes without the owner's permission.

More than 45,000 people around the country have joined legal moves to block energy companies from fracking under their properties, but a change to the trespass laws could allow companies to explore for shale gas without needing their permission.

But Simon Gray, chief executive of the East of England Energy Group said ministers were right to look at all options.

'Unconventional oil and gas is part of the energy mix,' he said. 'It's an interesting technology. Some of our members are involved in it and we have been fracking off the coast for the last 20 years. If you ask anyone what they want in their back garden, whether it's fracking, nuclear power, wind turbines, or pylons, they will say no. If you accepted every single lobby group, you wouldn't have any energy and how would people feel about that? But I think if it's done environmentally and with the best interests of the nation, then it's part of a mixed economy of energy assets.'

But Greenpeace UK executive director John Sauven said: 'Having failed to reassure the country that fracking is safe, ministers now want to render people powerless to oppose it. There's nothing fair or just about this underhand ploy to strip people of their legal right to say no to fracking under their homes.'