ANTI-FRACKING campaigners have criticised a Yorkshire MP for arranging a meeting with energy companies on the eve of a key decision over the use of the controversial mining method in his constituency.
Thirsk and Malton MP Kevin Hollinrake is to bring together companies intending to develop fracking operations to draw up a “regional plan” for the industry.
The Frack Free Ryedale campaign group criticised the MP for arranging to meet energy companies next month as councillors prepare to decide whether to grant planning permission for fracking operations at a site near Kirby Misperton in his constituency.
But Mr Hollinrake insisted the meeting was not about supporting the fracking industry but ensuring any use of the controversial mining method is done properly.
He said: “The biggest concern my constituents have, those that are keeping an open mind on this, are about its industrial nature and unsightly infrastructure and we need the companies to work together to make sure they do it properly if it is going to happen.
“It is not about supporting their efforts or promoting their efforts, it is about holding them to account.
“I think most people can see the advantage of producing our own energy. My view has been, since finding out more and taking the time to study it, we should take a cautious first step in a way that doesn’t affect people’s lives and livelihoods.”
Chris Redston, a spokesman for the Frack Free Ryedale campaign group, said: “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.”
Decisions will be taken next month which will signal the likelihood of a significant UK fracking industry developing.
North Yorkshire County Council is due to reach a long-awaited decision on whether Third Energy will be allowed to frack at Kirby Misperton.
The appeal by Cuadrilla against Lancashire County Council’s previous refusal to allow the company to frack at two sites along the Fylde Coast will also be heard.
The Government has strongly backed the creation of a UK fracking industry but every attempt has been met with strong local opposition.