Support for controversial fracking has fallen to a new low, according to an official Government survey.

Only a fifth of people (21per cent) back extracting shale gas for use in the UK, the lowest level of support since the quarterly public attitudes survey by the Department of Energy and Climate Change first quizzed people on the issue in December 2013.

Overall 28per cent of people opposed fracking, with 46per cent expressing no opinion either way, the survey of 2,118 UK households found.

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But the level of opposition was higher among people who said they knew about fracking, with 54per cent of those who know a lot about the process opposing it, compared to 32per cent backing it.

The only group who were more supportive than against the process were those who said they knew nothing about it, according to the poll which was conducted in late June as the debate raged over whether to let fracking go ahead at two sites in Lancashire.

Support for nuclear power has also fallen to the lowest levels seen in the survey, which began in 2012, with just a third (33per cent) of people backing the use of reactors to generate electricity in the UK, while around a quarter (24per cent) oppose the energy source.

But support for renewables remains very high, with three quarters of those quizzed backing their use, though the proportion of people expressing strong support was at its lowest since the survey began.

Concerns over the cost of energy bills have also fallen to new lows, with just a quarter (25per cent) very or fairly worried about paying for their energy bills, down from 35per cent at the same time last year.

Greenpeace UK head of energy Daisy Sands said: "The Government's own survey shows ministers' priorities on energy are at the polar opposite of what the British public wants.

Friends of the Earth senior energy campaigner Donna Hume said: "It's little surprise that the more people find out about the risks of fracking, the more they oppose it."

A spokeswoman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said: "Renewables, shale gas and nuclear are all an important part of our low carbon energy mix, providing safe, reliable, affordable energy for future generations."