Over half of the UK supports the controversial shale gas production method known as "fracking" and think decision makers should press on with it, according to a new survey from UK Onshore Oil and Gas (UKOOG).

The fracking industry lobby group, which claims to have surveyed some 4086 people, said that 57% of Britons support fracking, while just 16% are opposed to it, with the rest undecided.

UKOOG said the majority of UK inhabitants believe in the need to reduce our reliability on importing gas from other countries; Britain is set to import up to 91% of its gas by 2035.

Three out of every five respondents said that renewable energy should be developed in synergy with shale gas.

Ken Cronin, chief executive of UKOOG, said: "More than four out of five of us heat our homes with gas, and Britain's shale resource gives us the opportunity to become less dependent on foreign energy supplies, create tens of thousands of jobs and support our manufacturing industries."

"Shale gas and renewables are complementary, and our survey confirms that the public would like to see a balanced mix that includes both sources of energy."

However, Greenpeace hit back at the report, arguing that it is bound to favour the idea of fracking because of who conducted it.

A spokesperson for Greenpeace said: "Surely it's no coincidence that the only survey out there showing this level of public support for fracking has been commissioned by the industry lobby. All independent polls show less than half of Britain backs shale drilling.

"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."