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
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