LONDON, Aug. 11 (UPI) -- Greenpeace said a British survey showing public support for hydraulic fracturing is biased because the industry itself was behind the assessment. Research group Populus conducted a survey for U.K. Onshore Oil and Gas that found more than half of the 4,000 people it surveyed expressed support for hydraulic fracturing in the country, compared with 27 percent expressing no opinion and 16 percent opposed.
A spokesman for Greenpeace said the poll was biased because it was backed by the oil and gas industry.
"This is just more smoke and mirrors to hide the obvious fact that fracking remains a highly controversial industry, far less popular than clean and safe alternatives like wind and solar," the spokesman said.
The government in July announced it was opening up the bidding process for shale deposits in the country. The British Geological Survey estimates the country has enough shale on hand to meet natural gas demand for the next 50 years if 10 percent of the total reserves are recovered.
Ken Cronin, chief executive officer at UKOOG said in a statement accompanying the survey that shale natural gas development would complement the government's effort to advance a low-carbon economy.
"While [the results of the survey] are positive, our industry needs to continue to do all it can to listen and engage with the view of the local communities," he said.
Protests grew unruly last year over drilling operations in the tiny village of Balcombe. Shale operations in Northern Ireland were the recent target of violence.