Just when you thought the Government couldn’t get any worse, enthusiastically pro-fracking Tory MP is appointed as Michael Gove’s right hand man.
Gove’s record of supporting fracking – and even drilling in national parks – was among the many concerns raised when he was appointed as Environment Secretary.
The Tory manifesto said shale gas could “play a crucial role in rebalancing our economy” and included plans to “develop the shale industry in Britain.”
Fears that the Tories’ were about let fracking giants destroy vast swathes of the country subsided when there was no mention of it in the Queen’s speech – along with the rest of the Tory manifesto.
But the appointment of Kevin Hollinrake as Gove’s private secretary should cause concern to communities targeted by oil and gas companies.
Hollinrake has described fracking – the extraction of shale gas by boring a hole into the earth and pumping chemicals into it – as the “opportunity of our lifetimes.”
He was the vice-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Unconventional Oil and Gas.
The group was almost entirely funded funded by fracking companies, included Cuadrilla, and lobbied for pro-fracking policies at Westminster.
In 2015, he went to the US to study the booming fracking industry and wrote a report which concluded it would help combat climate change – despite the Government’s own advisors warning it would break Britain’s climate change targets.
Hollinrake resigned from the position last year after protests from his constituents whose village was threatened by fracking.
His resignation statement said: “A number of constituents have contacted me to express concerns that my involvement with the [group] is inappropriate, due to the amount of sponsorship it receives from the oil and gas industry.”
The MP for Thirsk and Malton still has a whole section setting out his support for fracking (with certain caveats) on his website.
Enjoy the fields of wheat while they’re still there…