Ryedale MP Kevin Hollinrake clarifies his stance on fracking to protesters – Yorkshire Post letters

Thirsk and Malton MP Kevin Hollinrake has defended his stance on fracking.
Thirsk and Malton MP Kevin Hollinrake has defended his stance on fracking.
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From: Kevin Hollinrake, Conservative MP for Thirsk and Malton.

I REFER to the recent letter by Dr Peter Williams regarding my position on fracking. I totally refute his claim that I speak on behalf of the fossil fuel industry; on the contrary, my aim is to represent the best interests of every citizen of our nation.

Fracking protesters lobby North Yorkshire County Council.

Fracking protesters lobby North Yorkshire County Council.

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Fracking produces natural gas, methane to be precise, and under any scenario, we will 
need gas for at least several decades. This is not a question of either renewables or gas, we need both.

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I am 100 per cent behind renewable energy, particularly wind and solar, and recently co-signed a letter to the Prime Minister to press for an easing of the planning rules for onshore wind. I totally agree that we need to do more because, despite the huge investments we have made to date, renewables still only provide around 33 per cent of our electricity (seven per cent in 2009) and 19 per cent of our total energy needs.

A fracking rig

A fracking rig

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Electricity is the easiest part of our energy production to decarbonise – heating and transport will be far more challenging. Gas will continue to play a part as it is the lowest carbon fossil fuel.

According to the Committee on Climate Change, it could also be the source of potentially the biggest game-changer, hydrogen, a virtually carbon-free fuel. The only economically-feasible way to produce hydrogen at the moment is by using a steam-based process to strip the carbon molecule out of methane. We currently import around half our gas to provide for the UK’s domestic and business needs and this figure will increase significantly over the next decade as we phase out coal-fired power generation. It makes sense to me, and many others, to produce it rather than import it.

As far as plastic is concerned, I am fully behind the Government’s drive dramatically to eliminate the need for plastic and its proposal, currently under consultation, to ensure that all packaging has a minimum of 30 per cent recycled content from April 2022. Plastic is like any other commodity. If we don’t buy it, manufacturers won’t produce it, so we can all play our part by buying products that are not made of it or wrapped in it.

From: Andrew Mercer, Guiseley.

WITH regard to the Extinction Rebellion rabble who staged protests in Leeds last week, they’re so hypocritical that they would be the first to complain when there are power cuts.

Such confrontation makes it harder to get the coherent long-term energy policy that successive governments, this one included, have failed to secure.