Parliamentary fracking group accused of bias; chairman says it reflects all sides


Opponents of fracking have accused a parliamentary group on shale gas regulation of being biased in favour of the industry and failing to reflect the views of communities that might be affected.

They have also criticised its chairman, Thirsk and Malton MP, Kevin Hollinrake, of being a cheerleader for fracking companies.

Mr Hollinrake, whose constituency includes the approved fracking site at Kirby Misperton, defended the group, saying it was taking evidence from all sides of the argument.

He also said he had done more than any other MP to ensure shale gas exploration was appropriately regulated and planned for.

The All Party Parliamentary Group on shale gas regulation and planning is meeting this afternoon (7/9/2016) to discuss compensation for communities where fracking takes place.

Anti-fracking campaigners have complained that only one of the seven witnesses invited to give evidence is from a shale gas community. Another five are from shale gas and infrastructure companies.

The panel of witnesses for today’s meeting comprises: The Right Rev Graham Cray, speaking for people from Kirby Misperton, along with representatives from the industry association, UK Onshore Oil and Gas (UKOOG), Northern Gas Networks (which runs gas pipelines), three shale gas companies – Third Energy, iGas and INEOS – and UK Community Foundations, which is piloting community benefit schemes for UKOOG.

Lancashire: “Communities belittled, demonised or ignored”


Claire Stephenson, of the Preston New Road Action Group, representing people near one of Cuadrilla’s proposed fracking sites in Lancashire, said:

“Given that two fracking planning applications in Lancashire are to be decided on or before 6th October, it’s deeply unsettling that neither of these two communities have been asked to appear at this industry-dominated event. This APPG seems nothing more than a cheap PR outfit for a struggling industry that is desperate to make industrial gains within rural communities.”

Roseacre Awareness Group, which represents people living near Cuadrilla’s other Lancashire site at Roseacre Wood, sent written evidence to the APPG in the summer but was not invited to attend today’s meeting. Its evidence included the following statement:

“There is a widespread feeling that communities in which responsible and reflective citizens have actively engaged in a process at considerable personal cost are deemed irrelevant; belittled, demonised or ignored. There is a dangerous and growing sense of disenfranchisement unhealthy in any democracy.”

“With a decision by the Secretary of State imminent on the two sites in Lancashire, and an ongoing consultation on the derisory Shale Gas Wealth Fund we sincerely hope that our views will be seriously taken account of. Our communities are representative of the many thousand who will be affected should this industry take hold.”

Yesterday afternoon, a spokesperson for Roseacre Awareness Group said the group had been invited to present evidence at a meeting of the APPG in November.

Yorkshire: “Cosy lobbying group”

Russell Scott, of Frack Free North Yorkshire, said:

“It seems incredible that only one person from fracking-impacted communities has been invited to give evidence, against five organisations that would all benefit financially from fracking. The APPG is clearly nothing more than a cosy shale gas industry lobby group, set up by their chief cheerleader Mr Hollinrake to help pave the way for fracking in the UK.”

Helen Hart of Frack Free Leeds, said:

“We question whether it is legal or ethical for an ardently pro-fracking MP to fund his own APPG on fracking. The fact that Mr Hollinrake is also Permanent Private Secretary to the Leader of the House of Commons, David Lidington MP, is also cause for concern, particularly as Mr Hollinrake appears to be working on behalf of the fracking industry, not his constituents.”

David Burley, of Frack Free South Yorkshire, said:

“The fracking industry and pro-fracking MPs can discuss compensation payments in the corridors of Westminster all they like. The message from communities threatened by fracking is loud and clear – we don’t want fracking at any price.”

Leigh Coghill, from Frack Free York, said:

“No amount of money could compensate residents for the noise, disruption, air pollution potential health problems and water pollution that the fracking industry will bring to affected communities.”

Chairman’s defence

KevinHollinrakeMr Hollinrake said the purpose of today’s meeting was to gather evidence. It was one of a number of meetings of the APPG to be held in 2016 and 2017. He said:

“Over this period we will be inviting a range of contributors to give evidence from all sides of the argument.”

He said today’s meeting had allowed one-and-a-half hours for evidence and the numbers of witnesses had to be limited. But he said “it does include Rt Revd Graham Cray who will speak on behalf of those opposed to fracking.”

Referring to the previous APPG meeting where two short statements were read on behalf of people from North Yorkshire and Lancashire, Mr Hollinrake said:

“We have already taken evidence from community groups in Lancashire in the last session in June and from Greenpeace and we welcome written evidence at any time.”

He said that the November meeting would focus on community issues and be extended to hear from as many people as possible. The agenda currently included the Mars Parent Group from Pennsylvania and Roseacre Awareness Group.

He told DrillOrDrop:

“It is completely wrong to suggest that I am the cheer leader for the industry. The decision to go ahead with fracking was made democratically in the House of Commons in January 2015 by a large majority of over 250 votes. Since then I believe I have done more than any other Member of Parliament to make sure we regulate and plan any exploration appropriately, This work has included: successfully calling for the banning of surface drilling in protected areas (National park, AONB and SSSI’s) holding debates and asking numerous questions in the Commons. I shall continue to work tirelessly to ensure that the regulations are in place and adhered to and, if issues arise, I shall call for a moratorium.

“I also set up an All Party Parliamentary Group on Shale Gas Regulation and Planning to recommend an effective regulation and planning regime if fracking goes ahead. The aim was to address the many and varied issues relating to fracking and in particular those that concern local people. It gives us an opportunity to ensure that all issues are properly discussed and taken into consideration. Proposed measures will include independent supervision of regulations; a robust ‘local plan’ for fracking covering the potential for a longer-term rollout; detailed solutions for concerns such as traffic plans, distance from schools, town and villages and impacts on other important parts of our economy; real time, publicly available environmental monitoring and confirmation that community financial benefits will go directly to communities affected.

“We are able to use a room courtesy of the House of Commons and everyone who attends comes at their own expense so, apart from the administration which is done from my office, there are no costs.”

DrillOrDrop will be reporting from this afternoon’s meeting.

Updated 1.50pm on 7/9/2016 to clarify that Roseacre Awareness Group had not been invited to today’s meeting (and please see comment from the group below)

41 replies »

  1. I want to clarify Roseacre Awareness Group (RAG) submitted written evidence to the APPG back in July (intended for the July meeting which was postponed) but we were not invited to speak at today’s meeting. I had a phone call yesterday, after I had enquired whether our MP was attending today’s meeting, to ask if I would speak at an APPG meeting on 8th November when communities would get their chance to speak; there not being sufficient time today for all parties.
    I would advise all community groups to consider presenting written evidence to the committee and asking to speak at the meeting on 8th November. Details on the APPG website.
    The only representation from Lancashire residents at previous meetings was a one page statement given by Greenpeace, on behalf of Lancashire residents, and was very generic highlighting residents concerns over the negative impacts on communities and asking the SoS to respect the decision of LCC.

    • I hope that the Rev. who testifies at the hearing is challenged for all of the anti-factual fearmongering that has occurred from his group. At some point these demagogues need to be held accountable for spewing their inaccuracies and lies. The FACT is that shale gas can be extracted safely without any systemic harm to communities. Extraction of shale gas can cut GHG emissions, provide jobs and wealth, and help to establish more energy independence.

      There’s a reason why Justin Bowden, GMB’s National Energy Secretary said that a ban on fracking is “naive and short-sighted.” Mr Bowden also said that a plan to generate 65% of electricity from renewables by 2030 was based on “wishful thinking.” The renewables campaign counts on a healthy dose of pixie dust and “hope” for their strategy, and they ignore what has happened in countries that have rushed into renewables too quickly.

      It is very gratifying to see the GMB call Corbyn and the anti-frackers out for the danger that their “proposals” represent to civilized society. We need to continue the fight by asking these anti-frackers to explain their position in detail, to explain why they believe fracking is dangerous, to explain how it is that they propose to keep the lights on. And then we need to make sure that they understand the potential consequences of their policy recommendations.

      • It is interesting to be called a demagogue and a liar. Obviously I don’t agree that either description is accurate. In many ways I am a reluctant protester against fracking as there are many other that I would prefer to be doing. All I can say is that as an ex Health and Safety manager I have looked at much of the evidence and believe the case against fracking is overwhealming. This is a conclusion that much of the world has also come to

        • Barry, Please expand on the “overwhealming” evidence you’ve found against fracking. I’ve done some research as well, and have arrived at a different conclusion. I haven’t found an energy extraction methodology that is without costs, but for the energy delivered, fracking has many fewer costs than most alternatives.

      • I’d be a bit wary of quoting Justin Bowden an authority if I were you Peeny – it makes ou look sillier than normal.

        Mr Bowden said yesterday “this means that until there are technological breakthroughs in carbon capture or solar storage then gas and nuclear power are the only reliable, low-carbon shows in town for all those days when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow.”

        So it seems as though he thinks CCS isn’t needed for gas but should be applied to renewables and that the sun can be stored (rather than storing electricity derived from a variety of renewable sources). As even Sleepy Stephen acknowledges that shale gas without CCS cannot be a bridge fuel I think your “expert” just shot himself in both feet.

        And let’s leave aside all of the arguments against fracking involving climate change, environmental damage, health impacts and local amenity impacts for a moment shall we.

        Whilst we do that you can explain how an industry with extraction costs estimated at twice the wholesale cost of natural gas is going to establish itself without massive government subsidy. Actually yesterday “Gas for instant delivery fell by 7.54 percent to 25.75 pence per therm by 0826 GMT” so make that 3 times the price. (And you are claiming the lights are about to go out are you? Really?)

        Extracting shale gas in those circumstances that means all of us (not you in USA though obviously) would be paying twice or three times what we need to for gas either directly via bills or indirectly via tax payer funded subsidies. Why should we have to do that ?

        Then you can explain how the gas generated from 4000 wells across the Fylde over 30 years is going to have a major impact on energy demand and security. What percentage of UK gas demand on average would you estimate that shale gas can fill?

        Without you being able to provide an answer to those the rest is moot. Over to you

        • John, can you find the quote where I referred to Bowden as an expert? I can only find my reference to his position with the GMB. I think that is an important role, as it carries quite a lot of influence, but it certainly doesn’t make him a physicist who studies energy solutions for a living. Clear?

          The reason you want to leave aside arguments about environmental and health impacts is because you realize that you have very weak arguments here, and that the facts are very much against you. We’ve been over this before.

          With respect to costs, John, the most reasonable approach is to let capitalism sort it out. Unlike your renewables, there are not massive subsidies required to start the shale development. Companies will be attracted to the opportunity if they believe they can earn a reasonable ROIC doing so. It doesn’t matter what Hot Air Hobson or any other person estimates for costs, what matters is what these firms believe. So, don’t get your panties all wadded up on that one, Johnny. If the returns are there, they will drill, otherwise we’ll depend on foreign gas! (whose operators face the same cost constraints BTW!!! Figure it out, Johnny! )

          • Ah so you weren’t presenting him as an authority then. Gosh – it surely looked as though you were LOL

            I parked the other issues as you were becoming a bit repetitive and they are basically irrelevant if the industry isn’t economically viable anyway.

            “Unlike your renewables, there are not massive subsidies required to start the shale development.” – er so just how is it going to work with Chatham House estimating drilling costs in UK at 3 times what they are in the USA and that, co-incidentally, being about 3 times the costthey can sell the product for today. The estimates are not mine Peeny – they are from sources rather more credible than an anonymous shill from Baltimore – including evidence to House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee from the industry itself, Bloomberg, The Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, EY, and Centrica .

            No need to get personal – it seems you are bit wound up Peeny old chap. Take a chill pill.

        • As to the last part of your question, regarding gas production, I am happy to explain this to you once again, John.

          Shale gas could supply all of the UK’s consumption for decades, but that wouldn’t be the intelligent way to exploit the resource. Supplying a portion of the market for a much longer time helps the country achieve comfort in the knowledge that it is sitting on a large, economic resource which it can draw on should foreign supplies become less available for political reasons or otherwise. It can also allow for negotiating leverage when dealing with long-term gas contracts with foreigners. It can lead to lower gas prices.

          UK consumption is around 2.5 tcf/year last I saw. If we assume average production of a horizontal well at 5 bcfe, similar to the Marcellus, and we assume 40 horizontals per pad (though Cuadrilla claims they can do more), then the average 3 acre well pad can produce 200 bcfe. If the industry were to supply 10% of demand, or 250 bcf/year, it would require a bit more than one pad per year. Not bad, eh Johnny?

          Your 4,000 wells, comprising 100 well pads, would produce approximately 20 tcf of gas, or enough to supply the UK for 80 years at 250 bcf/year. Of course, the average life of a well is around 8 years, so only a small portion of those 100 well pads would be producing at a given time.

          In contrast, to generate the same amount of energy via wind turbines would require long-term destruction of somewhere between 200-300k acres of land, and a permanent eyesore. This is not to mention the fact that those wind turbines would require back up power or battery storage on a large scale. If that backup were to come from foreign gas, the UK would just be using someone else’s fracked gas and paying a high price for it. If it used battery backup (with a fair dose of pixie dust) the expense and the environmental damage from mining would need to be taken into account.

          Thanks for asking!

          • “Shale gas could supply all of the UK’s consumption for decades”

            Oh come on Peeny – you are making a bit of a fool of yourself now.

            Even using your 2.5 TCF per year (which ignores the fact that average consumption for the 12 years after 2000 was in fact 3.6 tcf a year and takes the conveniently lower data from the last 3 years, to supply UL demand for 20 years (the minimum time to meet your “decades” claim) would require a total of 50 tcf.

            Given that Cuadrilla probably can’t site more than 100 pads in PEDL 165 due to space constraints, and assuming they could manage to drill your 40 wells per pad from them (although they struggle a bit with just one at the moment) , then they’d have 4,000 wells.

            With your exaggerated 5 bcf EUR (even the IoD trying to big up shale didn’t dare claim more than 3.2 bcf a well EUR based on industry declared US averages) they’d get a lifetime maximum of 20 tcf from 4,000 wells – which other shale plays in the UK do you know of that would make up the remaining 30 tcf to allow you to make the absurd claim that shale gas could supply all of the UK’s consumption for decades?

            I’ll be absolutely fascinated to hear your response. Don’t keep us waiting now!

            • As you are aware, John, the BGS estimated 1,300 tcf GIP. Much of that gas is in the Bowland, and outside PEDL 165. Some of it also occurs in Midland Valley and in the Weald basin, but the Bowland is the most prospective. We will see how much is recoverable. Just note that in the US, the GIP and recoverable gas estimates are increased just about every year. Those geologists with whom I speak are confident that a similar pattern will happen in the UK. But if they’re wrong, and only 25 tcf are recoverable, that’s still a lot of gas, and it can help a lot of people, create a lot of wealth and create a lot of jobs. It can also help with energy security.

              If you think that my 5 bcf claim is exaggerated, I would suggest you do some more research, John. In the Marcellus the average horizontal well is producing 4.7 bcf. I can site the study which lays out the empirical data if you’d like. You may not be very impressed with 20 tcf of gas but maybe you’d be more impressed with the 250k acres of windfarms that would intermittently supply the same amount of power? Those wind turbines would be expensive, would ruin the countryside completely, and would result in the deaths of thousands of elderly from fuel poverty.

              • “Just note that in the US, the GIP and recoverable gas estimates are increased just about every year. ”

                Just like in Poland then eh? LOL

                Please don’t bother quoting GIP estimates at us – we all know what they are already (we live here) and we know likely the %ages recoverable too.

                Why do you keep banging on about windfarms as though they are the only form of renewables?

                As to elderly people dying – you should be absolutely ashamed of yourself for such scaremongering (but I’m sure you have no shame just like you have no real name) – not because fuels poverty does not exist, but because UK shale gas will do nothing to change that.

                • Peeny/Bard/Brad/Jim/Dick/Baltimore Bizarro/ Anonymous AngryMan – you can’t just rant “you’re wrong” LOL – that’s playground level. Well OK your level.

                  I’ve asked you to demonstrate that fracking isn’t just an expensive fantasy project several times now but you keep ranting and raving and coming out with claptrap that is unsupported by any evidence. Can you do any better? I doubt it but do try one last time

          • ‘Shale gas could supply all of the UK’s consumption for decades’. This is a statement by someone with no understanding of the UK energy system, where our gas comes from, or time scale of energy development.

            Facts come from professionals in their fields.

            ‘Shale gas cannot meet our base fuel needs’ ‘The suggestion that shale gas could prevent the country from brown outs is frankly laughable’

            These statements come from energy professionals asked to speak at the Economic Affairs Committee in December 2013.

            The explanations to support these statements and the reasons why our Mighty North Sea Industry can keep on supplying us with gas and oil like it has done for decades is abundantly clear in the Lords Debate.


            Of course that was in 2013. So what has changed since then that could make what the professionals stated then be different today.
            Quite a bit really. Climate change target deadlines are getting nearer. The cost of oil and gas has dropped dramatically (note the experts in the video stating that shale would be 30% dearer than our own home grown offshore gas) and of course the UK shale Industry has not produced any gas since it’s first applications in 2010.

            The pro fracking desperate attempt to scaremonger using ‘The Lights will go out’ myth is not succeeding.

            Shale gas is simply to expensive, to slow, to dangerous and not needed in this country in this century.

            Thanks hball for allowing me once again to explain to the rapidly growing numbers who view this site the economic burden of UK shale and to bust the ridiculous myths you keep posting.

            • John – they are all at it – here’s what another of them was ranting on Twitter earlier on

              Holiday N York Moors@rosellacottage
              18 hours ago
              @Refracktion @Countrymanjules @ruthhayhurst If the US stops exporting #shalegas to the UK, our lights will go out. Quite a simple concept

              Honestly! It seems that they have neither shame nor understanding

            • Thanks, John Powney, for your comments. I have a few objections to what you have written.

              You write, “‘Shale gas could supply all of the UK’s consumption for decades’. This is a statement by someone with no understanding of the UK energy system, where our gas comes from, or time scale of energy development.”

              I actually am fairly well-versed on the UK’s gas infrastructure, supplies, and time required for development. If you can be more specific about errors I have made in these areas, I would happily discuss these with you.

              You also note, “Facts come from professionals in their fields. ‘Shale gas cannot meet our base fuel needs’ ‘The suggestion that shale gas could prevent the country from brown outs is frankly laughable”

              Well, John, facts can come from professionals, but they don’t have any sort of statutory monopoly on factual information. Ironically, the “facts” that you cite to demonstrate your point are not factual at all, rather they are subjective opinions. My statement that the UK could be completely supplied with fracked gas for decades was also a subjective opinion. You may value the opinion of your “experts” more than my opinion, and I understand that point of view. The FACT, however, is that the BGS has highlighted a resource greater than 1,300 tcf in the UK. That figure will eventually be expanded in my humble opinion, just as it was doubled to that level a couple of years ago and just as resource estimates are almost continuously increased in most shale gas producing countries. A rough rule of thumb is that 10% or so of that resource could be extracted, yielding 130 tcf of gas which would keep the UK gassed-up for quite a while. Of course, that is just a rule of thumb, and the real result could range from 0% to 25%, and the GIP number could change as well.

              The bottom line is that we won’t know how much gas is economically extractable until the operators are able to drill at a number of sites, and are able to refine their techniques in an iterative process.

              So many “experts” have been proven fools in the US when they have made estimates on EURs, decline rates, GIP, and costs that I’ve lost count. So, you’ll have to excuse me if I discount the opinions of your esteemed experts a wee bit.

              You see, the industry keeps proving “experts” wrong by becoming more and more efficient. Lowering costs while extracting greater amounts of gas from a single well has the impact of increasing EURs, reserves, and resources – a positively reinforcing loop.

              You believe that shale gas is too expensive. Can you offer a logical explanation, then, for the fact that shale gas is being produced in America and shipped to Europe for consumption? You would understand that the costs involved in the LNG and transportation processes double or triple the total costs behind that gas. So, John, how is it that Europeans can absorb that exorbitantly high cost value chain in the price they pay for gas while you can at the same moment make a claim that shale gas is “to[sic] expensive”? That logic simply doesn’t flow, John.

              You will also have to understand that the same cost arguments have been made in the US for decades by experts, and they have all been proven wrong. Yes, costs in the UK will start high because the Services industry is not yet established in the country. But as the industry ramps and techniques are perfected, costs will come down due to efficiency gains and a more competitive service offering. If you can explain to me the reason why extracting a molecule of gas from the Bowland shale should be much more expensive than extracting it from the Marcellus, Barnett, or Montney, I will be impressed, John. Mechanistically, however, I cannot detect such a drastic difference that would cause such a discrepancy. In fact, I believe that the opposite will prove true. Because the Bowland is far thicker than these comparables, a single well pad will produce much more energy in the UK than in Pennsylvania, lowering the costs per unit of production.

              The FACT is, John, that the EPA and a host of other non-biased sources have said that fracking does not pose a systemic risk to water supplies. Fracking is helping to clean the air in the States, boosting wealth & growth, providing jobs, keeping people from getting sick, and providing low cost energy. These are not “ridiculous myths” as you assert, I can back any of these claims with facts if you wish to see them.

              If you want to talk about “economic burden” I suggest you look no further than wind turbines and solar panels, John. There is much information on that subject. Gas, on the other hand, is economically viable, and provides a back-up for renewables, thereby allowing them to proliferate. Gas doesn’t need subsidies, John, in fact it will contribute tax revenue and help build wealth through the government’s wealth fund.

              Have a great day!

              • You state that gas doesn’t need subsidies. Again you have not looked at the readily available facts.

                The UK Government claims it does not give any subsidies to the fossil fuel industry. This is because it has a different stricter definition of subsidy which it limits to

                ‘ Government action that lowers the pre-tax price to consumers to below international market levels’

                Sounds like a subsidy to me. Costs the tax payer around 6 billion pounds a year.

                The energy analysts who spoke at the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee were not ‘our’ experts. Presumably they were all asked to speak by our Government. In my opinion, on balance, the presented case for shale was extremely poor.

                • Well Peeney we have the US experience to draw on but we also have the evidence of 5 years of what they’ve done (or tried rather ineffectively) to do here and the industry’s own evidence to our government and the planning inquiry at BFC supporting our viewpoint. Suit yourself Mr Sockpuppet.

                • Oh and and sorry you were after a reason why extraction costs in the UK might be higher than in USA – here are 3 – Regulation, population density and geology (faulting not depth). Thank you!

                • So, you believe because the industry hasn’t drilled in the last 4 or so years that this proves it cannot be done viably? That is some twisted logic, John. You will have to excuse me if I call that complete junk.

                  As to your reasons that it will be more expensive in the UK than the US……I agree that regulations will be more onerous, and that will impose extra costs – but how much extra is the question. It is probably on the order of 10-25% in greater costs, but I doubt that it would be on the order of 100-200%. Population density is not much of a factor in terms of costs. In the US, costs per well is not impacted by the density of population in the surrounding area. More geologic faults does make drilling more complicated, but operators deal with this in Canada, US (Eagle Ford), and in China, without significant impact on costs.

                  A couple circumstances weigh against your claims of uncompetitive costs. First is the fact that the Bowland is some10-50x thicker than most shales. This fact alone could overcome each of your objections. Being able to drill 40-60 wells from a pad rather than 10-20 can create massive cost efficiencies. Another big cost advantage comes ironically enough from the population density in the UK, because it necessitates infrastructure over much of the country. In the US, this isn’t the case and much money must be paid to build infrastructure and to transport over great distances. The final argument for a competitive UK gas market is the most convincing. The fact that investors/operators eagerly await the go-ahead for development, and eagerly buy up licenses when available. These stakeholders are in much better shape than you or I to assess the cost economics of UK shale gas, and they have voted with their wallets. Any time multiple players are willing to part with hard earned cash to underwrite an endeavor this speaks volumes about the prospectivity of returns.


                • “These stakeholders are in much better shape than you or I to assess the cost economics of UK shale gas, and they have voted with their wallets.”

                  These will be the stakeholders who have sent those fracking companies shares through the roof eh Peeny?

                  AJ Lucas 168c in 2013 – languishing at 31c today
                  IGas 148p in 2014 – scraping the bottom down to just 16 p today

                  Yes indeed that’s what I call voting with their wallets – As you say this speaks volumes about the prospectivity of returns!

                  Thank you 😉

      • Unite the UK’s biggest union is against fracking – as are many others. The GMB is in fact out of step with most other unions – so I wouldn’t get too excited. The Lib Dems are already anti fracking and Labour may go the same way. If the moratorium in Scotland and the moratorium in Wales become permanent – fracking really will have a political problem won’t it.

        • Unite helped to stop the ban on fracking last year, so I wouldn’t necessarily count on the group being strongly opposed to fracking. Their official stance is not in favor of fracking but they are facing a lot of pressure to modernize that stance!

  2. Hollinrake’s remarks on regulation are a damning indictment of his own ineffectual action in persuading the government to introduce robust regulation when he knows full well, as we do, that the government is only intent on cutting red tape and easing regulatory burden on the industry. It is a total fabrication to say he has done more than any MP. But even if it were true, heaven help us. If anyone believes the government poriority post-Brexit – or even facing Brexit – will be to replace European regulation with equal or stronger regulation he or she is living in a dream world.

    Hollinrake’s committee is a sham. He set it up to improve his own standing in his constituency. The examination of community benefits is only to examine preferred mechanisms for delivering the community and shale wealth funds, not to tell the government it is a non-starter. Hence the preponderance of industry witnesses. The committee will be interested in what they say about how they will deliver – or not – the government’s pledges. INEOS in particular has been vocal in refusing to carry out the government’s commitment to the industry profit handouts. In Scotland it effectively employed blackmail, refusing to hand out anything unless the Scottish parliament abandoned its moratorium. It will be interesting to see whether the committee pursues an active line of questioning on this.

  3. It does appear to me, as Helen Hart says, highly irregular that Mr Holinrake is “funding” this APPG on Fracking.

  4. Nobody has done more to promote the agenda of the fracking industry than Kevin Hollinrake. If he thinks that inviting one person from a fracking-threatened community, against six representatives from companies and organisations that stand to benefit financially from fracking, is in any conceivable way ‘being fair to all sides’, then he is living in on a different planet to the rest of us.

    It is abundantly clear that Mr Hollinrake has already decided that fracking is, to quote, “too good an opportunity to pass up”, and is now engaged in how to manufacture consent for this industry to move ahead against massive and growing resistance from his local constituency. The discussions at this meeting, and all other meetings, is not whether fracking should go ahead, despite the overwhelming opposition of the public in Ryedale and elsewhere, but how it can be made more palatable to those who live in the countryside and whose lives will be blighted by this industry if it ever rolls into town.

    Mr Hollinrake was forced to resign from another fracking APPG after it was revealed that it was entirely funded by the fracking industry itself. Mr Hollinrake claimed not to know this, which reveals him to be either mendacious or incompetent – who sits on a committee for a year without knowing, or asking, how it is funded?

    He then started his only APPG to help smooth the way for the fracking industry, which as the report above shows, is simply another vehicle to allow shale gas executives to bend the ear of MPs. This APPG – as with many others – is simply a free lobby group for the industry, with the odd anti-fracker to give the illusion of balance. You only have to look at the make-up of the APPG committee to see the agenda that underlies his motives. We have the pro-fracking MP for Ryedale, Mr Hollinrake, as chair, and Mark Menzies, the pro-fracking MP for Lancashire, as vice-chair, along with two other Conservative MPs. Even the Labour MP on the committee Jim Fitzpatrick, is pro-fracking – probably the only Labour MP he could have chosen for the committee that is. There are only two SNP MPs who are opposed to fracking, meaning that the committee is going to come out with pro-fracking recommendations.

    At least now the cover has been blown on this pro-fracking talking shop and people can see Mr Hollinrake for what he is – an fracking apologist who is engaged in enabling the industry to get started, instead of representing his constituents, who are overwhelmingly opposed to fracking. Not one letter of support for KM8 was received by the NYCC from anyone in the four villages near the well-site – there were only 36 letters of support in total against 4,375 objections. The local Parish Councils oppose fracking, the Ryedale District Council opposes it, all five Town Councils in Ryedale oppose fracking – only Mr Hollinrake stands disgracefully and embarrassing alone in supporting the application and failing to stand up for his constituents. When he was elected, he claimed he would represent Ryedale in Westminster, but he is clearly intent on doing precisely the opposite.

    Even when Mr Hollinrake makes statements about fracking that upset the industry, he does not stick to his guns. On he return from his trip to Pennsylvania, he said in an interview with Drill or Drop that he thought fracking shouldn’t take place within a mile of people’s homes. However, when it was put to him that the well-site at Kirby Misperton was less than half a mile from people’s homes, he refused to oppose it. Last week in the Yorkshire Post he defended this position by saying, “This is an existing site and it makes little sense to me to move it.” No sense to him and his friends in the fracking industry, maybe – the people who live in Kirby Misperton might disagree.

    His previous calls for fracking well-sites to be six miles apart has also been conveniently forgotten, as it has obviously be made clear to him by his friends in the fracking industry that this is untenable with their plans to frack the whole of the countryside.

    Mr Hollinrake showed his true colours when he organised a closed meeting for all fracking companies involved in fracking in Ryedale in February. Nobody from the local community was invited, and no minutes were produced. This was clearly a meeting to discuss how to carve up the area to the benefit of the fracking companies, and for Mr Hollinrake to claim otherwise is simply not credible.

    One of the outcomes of this meeting is that Mr Hollinrake is apparently going to unveil a 3D visual representation of what fracking in Ryedale is going to like in October. Be prepared for a Narnia-eque visual treat, showing that thousands of fracking wells in Ryedale would blend seamlessly into the surrounding countryside and would have no impact at all on the local communities, tourist industry, road system or lives of its residents. Fortunately the majority of his constituents have stopped believing anything he said regarding fracking a long time ago, and will surely dismiss this cheap stunt as another sordid and desperate attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of those who voted for him.

    Thank you to Drill or Drop for carrying this article, and for shining a light on Mr Hollinrake’s campaign to promote fracking in Ryedale.

  5. I can not believe the arrogance and ridiculous comments by certain proponents of the fracking industry on this site. They give scant regard to those communities who would have to live with this industry and speak only of technicalities which are pretty unsubstantiated at that. To talk of having 40-60 wells on a single pad just 300m from peoples homes shows no regard whatsoever for the people living there who would have to endure 24×7 drilling, thousands of HGV movements on very quiet, tranquil rural lanes and all the other adverse impacts on this beautiful scenic landscape which is used by thousands (yes we have the evidence) for rural occupations, leisure and tourism. Local communities do not want this of that you can be assured and are never likely to accept fracking on their doorstep. No amount of government and industry rhetoric will convince us this is good for us, that this industry can be safely managed or that the impacts are acceptable. I can assure TW and hballpeeny (what sort of id is that?) that local residents do not want this and will fight every step of the way to preserve their way of life. National need? Absolute claptrap. This is about profit for the few at the expense of many.

    • Barbara – don’t trouble yourself over much with Hballpeeny – he is just a sockpuppet ID – whoever writes it also uses Bard Welsh on newspaper columns and Brad Welsh and Jim Georges on newspaper columns. Given the volume of comments generated here and on those columns it is hard to imagine that he /she is not the invention of a PR company’s attack squad – this being borne out by the varying tone and content of Peeny’s comments on here that has been pointed out by others

      He/she is an inveterate liar – the most recent example on the Yorkshire Post has him/her claiming “I know about Cuadrilla’s flow rates because I asked management”. Unfortunately for him/her Mr Egan is on record as stating in January this year “This is very hypothetical, given we haven’t drilled a single well and tested the flow rate yet.”. Oops! 🙂

  6. John thanks – just responded to his ludicrous comments in the Blackpool Gazette about solar and wind. I am not concerned about him but I just don’t understand why he shows complete disregard to local residents and the communities which will be most affected. It is almost like the industry has brainwashed him. Same old tired rhetoric. The good thing is it gives people a chance to challenge his assumptions and show up the flaws in his arguments. To be honest I have better things to do than waste my time on him.

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