Opponents of fracking in Ryedale took their message directly to their MP yesterday (30/1/2016) with a protest outside Kevin Hollinrake’s constituency surgery in Thirsk.
They were demonstrating against the MP’s plans for a meeting with fracking companies in February, at which he hopes to establish a regional plan for shale gas development in North Yorkshire.
According to Mr Hollinrake, the aim of the meeting, described as a producers’ summit, was “to create a model of what shale gas extraction would look like in terms of visual and environmental impact and how this can be communicated”. The summit is planned for Monday 8th February at Westminster. It is not open to the public.
The campaigners have also accused Mr Hollinrake of abandoning his demand for fracking sites to be at least a mile from homes (see DrillOrDrop interview) under pressure from the industry and the Chancellor, George Osborne. Third Energy’s planned fracking operation at the KM8 well at Kirby Misperton in the MP’s constituency is 400m away from houses, the campaigners said.
They have further criticised his vote in favour of fracking under National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, saying he had broken his promise to protect Ryedale’s landscape.
“Shale gas too good an opportunity to ignore”
Last week, in a debate in Westminster Hall, Mr Hollinrake said shale gas was too good an opportunity for the UK to ignore (DrillOrDrop report). He said:
“This is the right thing for the UK and a real opportunity for UK manufacturing.”
“I believe the advantages for our national and local economies far outweigh the disadvantages”.
But he also said shale gas developments must be compatible with daily life in North Yorkshire. He said he didn’t believe lives would be disturbed as long as fracking was conducted in “a balanced and measured way”.
“MP should be opposing fracking application”
Yesterday, Malton resident and campaigner, Ian Conlan, said:
“We want to know why our MP is promoting the idea of fracking in Ryedale which will ruin the area for generations to come, instead of opposing this [KM8] application which is so close to people’s homes.”
Cllr Di Keal, a member of FrackFree Malton and Norton, said:
“It has become increasingly obvious in recent weeks that Kevin Hollinrake has stopped pretending that he will fight to protect his constituency and the people that live here from the nightmare of fracking.”
“It is shameful that during the run up to last year’s general election he said publicly that he would listen to the views of local people and oppose fracking it if he didn’t think it could be carried out safely, yet since he was elected he has chosen to ignore residents views and expert opinions on the proven risks associated with the industry.”
“There is a growing sense of frustration among local people that their MP is simply not listening to them.”
Steve Mason, local member of Frack Free Ryedale said:
‘Kevin should be calling for a new inquiry on fracking, not trying to facilitate it. Now is the time to introduce a new national moratoria on fracking until all the evidence is in.”
“Up to date studies are being released all the time highlighting the impacts of this heavy industry on the environment, water supplies, tourism, local residents and even the local economy.”
FrackFree Ryedale released a new leaflet to coincide with the protest. Title Kevin Hollinrake MP – whose side are you on? it reviews the MP’s statements on fracking in the constituency. FFR leaflet
Friends of the Earth also began an email campaign urging Mr Hollinrake to “stop pushing fracking”. Link
Updated on 1/2/16 to include Friends of the Earth campaign and Frack Free Ryedale leaflet
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