Opposition

Ryedale MP accused of “getting into bed” with fracking companies

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Campaigners against fracking in the Ryedale district of Yorkshire have accused the local MP of betrayal and acting as an industry spin doctor after he announced plans for a private meeting with four leading shale gas companies.

DrillOrDrop reported yesterday that the Producers’ Summit, organised by the Conservative Kevin Hollinrake, is due to take place at Westminster on Monday 8th February. (Link to post) This is the day before the determination date for a planning application by Third Energy to frack an existing well at Kirby Misperton in Mr Hollinrake’s Thirsk and Malton constituency.

This morning, critics said Mr Hollinrake had:

  • Got into bed with the fracking companies
  • Was ignoring local opposition to fracking
  • Abandoned any pretence of being open-minded and impartial about fracking.

On Twitter, he responded to some opponents, saying he would be holding the companies to account.

Last year, Mr Hollinrake said he was against fracking until he had satisfactory answers about independent water monitoring, well decommissioning and industrialisation of the countryside.

This week, he said he remained convinced that fracking should be part of the UK’s energy mix – but only if it could be done in a “balanced and measured way”.

Ryedale is regarded by some campaigners as the front line against fracking. There are now 38 whole or part oil and gas exploration licences in the Thirsk and Malton constituency.

If North Yorkshire County Council approves the Kirby Misperton application next month, Third Energy could be the first company to carry out high volume hydraulic fracturing in the UK since 2011, when Cuadrilla’s Preese Hall frack caused small earthquakes.

DrillOrDrop has compiled a selection from the Twitter exchanges with the MP today. You can also read other local reaction towards the end of this post.

Twitter exchanges with Kevin Hollinrake

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Other local reaction

Chris Redston, from Frack Free Ryedale

“It’s clear that Kevin Hollinrake has now dropped all pretence of being open-minded and impartial on the issue of fracking, and is now taking on the role of the fracking industry’s chief PR spin doctor.”

Monica Griapios, from Hovingham

“When he was elected, Mr Hollinrake said that he would be a representative for Thirsk and Malton in Westminster, not Westminster in Thirsk and Malton. It is clear to everyone that he is now doing precisely the opposite. He has acknowledged that the majority of people in Ryedale are against fracking, yet continues to ignore local opposition and is now getting into bed with the fracking companies.”

Sue Gough, from Little Barugh, who lives a mile from the Kirby Misperton well-site

“Mr Hollinrake has stated that there should be no fracking wells within 1 mile of people’s homes. However, instead of staying true to his word and opposing fracking at KM8 – where the well will be less than half a mile from the village of Kirby Misperton – he is busy arranging closed meetings in Westminster with fracking companies to decide how they can carve up Ryedale and sell their schemes to the unwilling public.”

Friends of Ryedale Gas Exploration

FORGE post

7 replies »

  1. Mr Hollinrakes apparent desire for a ” visual model” chimes with his references to screening pig farms. Yes, visual impact is important, but much more important is the effect of fracking on Public Health, our air and water : Impacts on farming and livestock and produce from VOC’s and the effect this would have on public confidence in products grown and reared locally.

    What impact will fracking one well have on tourism and tourist spend ? And the impacts of multiple wells?

    What impact will fracking have on our ability to meet climate change targets?

    The following response from a councillor in Whitby to Cuadrilla encapsulates much of what we the public deserve to know.

    Can you elaborate on what exactly constitutes ‘best practice for unconventional hydrocarbon exploration in Europe’? An important clarification that needs to be made here is whether ‘best practice’ is measured against a relative baseline or an absolute one that is grounded in empirical scientific evidence. Given that Cuadrilla Resources was censured by the Advertising Standards Authority in 2013 for misleading claims around the safety of its practices this is a question I feel obliged to ask.

    Are you satisfied that existing cost-benefit analyses capture and value in full the external costs and benefits of shale gas extraction in a given location? For instance, is Cuadrilla Resources prepared to commission an independent assessment and valuation of the disruption to ecosystem services at extraction sites and the associated cost to society?

    In the event of granting of permission to exploit a shale gas well Cuadrilla Resources has agreed to a payment of £100,000 to the local community. Could you explain and justify the process by which this figure has been reached? Is this sum intended to fully compensate stakeholders who may be negatively affected by hydraulic fracturing? Greater transparency is required here.

    Could you explain what, if any, actions Cuadrilla Resources will take to ensure equitable and sustainable allocation of any economic benefits arising from extraction of shale gas in the area? The environmental costs of fracking will be paid for by local communities and the Government’s generous tax breaks by UK taxpayers. Yet Cuadrilla, which stands to profit from shale gas, is majority owned by an entity (Riverstone Holdings*) based in offshore tax havens. If shale gas truly is to become a ‘bridge fuel’ to renewables should the government not be taking steps to ensure avoided taxes are captured and invested in sustainable renewable energy infrastructure for the benefit of future generations?

    At the recent COP 21 event in Paris the UK joined a global commitment to keep to limit global average temperature increases to below 2 degrees Celsius compared to the pre-industrial period by 2100. Within this context could you respond to the following statements:
    That fracking cannot and should not replace coal power generation in the UK, Europe or globally and therefore cannot support the critically important shift away from coal.
    That fracking will undermine UK climate leadership such that it would be impossible to ask other countries to leave conventional reserves in the ground while aggressively driving greater and greater extraction of unconventional gas and oil from under our own feet.
    That fracking could detract from investment in renewables by locking the UK into a dependency on gas and becoming a substitute for renewables.

    These are type of question that require answers.

  2. Mrs Allanson is incorrect in saying that Kevin Hollinrake’s pro-fracking stance reflects the view of the majority of people in Ryedale. In the Gazette and Herald on 30th September last year, Mr Hollinrake said ‘The majority of people in this area are against fracking’, a fact that is
    The fact that Ryedale’s conventional gas industry has been operating ‘safely and discretely’ (sic) for 20 years does not mean that fracking would be the same. Fracking involves much higher volumes, much higher pressures, horizontal wells, added chemicals, millions of gallons of waste water – and crucially, requires thousands of wells to create meaningful amounts of gas, as fracking wells become uneconomic in 1-3 years.
    However, Mrs Allanson and FFR have finally found a point of common ground, We also agree with you that all companies operating in the UK and making a profit should pay UK tax. Why, therefore, does she continue to support Third Energy UK Gas Ltd, which are registered in the Cayman Islands for the specific purpose of avoiding UK tax responsibilities?
    Third Energy are by no means the only fracking company that is registered abroad to avoid UK tax. Here is an interesting article about the tax-dodging anti-fracking industry, which shows that 40% of the companies that have been awarded new PEDL licences are based in off-shore tax havens.
    http://energydesk.greenpeace.org/2015/12/16/revealed-cuadrilla-and-leading-fracking-firms-tax-haven-ownership/
    (And by the way, it’s discreetly, not discretely, for next time you choose to peddle this egregious myth, Lorraine.)

  3. How dare Kevin Hollinrake behave in this way and how dare he decide he is the person to decide whether how fracking is done well. Behind closed doors, him the industry and the planning authority?! And irrespective of the usual FORGE comments, Mr Hollinrake has publicly stated 80% of his constituents are against fracking. Didn’t see many of the majority speaking out in favour of fracking at the meeting he arranged in Malton or writing in support of Third Energy’s planning application – let us deal in reality.
    Ineos have stated in their interview in Drill or Drop that the one mile blanket buffer zone (as stated by Mr Hollinrake) wasn’t helpful – no Ineos states that 400m from someone’s back door would be far more helpful. And so they talk of free gas for some and low cost gas for others – ask yourself why? Because no gas is free and shale gas is expensive to produce so someone is subsidising the cost somewhere – so if this industry is so discreet and doesn’t industrialise the countryside – why the need for bribes and why can’t the operate with a mile buffer zone? This bribe has been offered in the States and is divisive and cannot possibly align with the COP21 commitments agreed so recently in Paris. We should not be encouraging increased domestic gas use – we should be encouraging greater heat efficiency in homes and new technology like air and ground source heat pumps. In fact we should be demanding a new MP.

  4. And does Mr Hollinrake think he should be the person to hold the industry to account – when he voted for fracking in protected areas? The public hold industry to account and MPs

  5. Well I have read some [edited] in my time but this takes the biscuit. Chris Redstone [edited] You [edited] don’t even live in Ryedale neither do other do gooders. I am sick of constantly reading the same old yarn that the Anti Frackers are constantly spinning. You are nothing but keyboard warriors who bully and intimidate anyone who dares have a different opinion that you have. Here are some real facts for you;-
    1. Most people in Ryedale are not against fracking as the majority don’t care because they are intelligent and can see the benefits of fracking.
    2. Of course Mr Hollindrake doesn’t want any anti-frackers at the meeting is because he wants to have a grown up meeting and not feel like he is in kindergarten with childish comments and behaviour.
    3. You keep going on about how he has changed his mind after he went to America. He is an intelagent person with a good head on his shoulders so surly if he has seen what fracking in the states is like he has made his own mind up ? He obviously saw it through open eyes and not through the tinted glasses you fools see it through. So he has decided it’s not that bad and is going to make sure it’s done correctly to ensure his constituents are safe what’s wrong with that?
    4. You and your band of sheep have no real evidence that fracking in the UK with all its strict procedures. All you have is what America is doing and people saying “it COULD cause” or “it MAY …” Why don’t you actually get your facts straight and stop feeding people crap pie.

    This comment has been edited by the moderator

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