Desolate NE fine for fracking

Fracking should be carried out in the North East of England where there are "large, desolate areas", says former energy secretary Lord Howell of Guildford.

Peer U-turn over "desolate" North East

Lord Howell
Lord Howell Credit: ITV News

Lord Howell says he didn't actually mean the North East when he said it had "desolate" areas which would be good for fracking.

He now says he meant "unloved" areas of the North West.

Lord Howell said that the North East of England was not "in his mind at all" and he meant "more the drilling going on off the Lancashire coast".

The Tory peer was forced to apologise on Tuesday after saying in the House of Lords there was "plenty of room" for controversial hydraulic fracturing drilling to take place in the North East without affecting the environment.

He's now says: "What was in my mind was much more the drilling going on off the Lancashire coast. But it came out of my mouth as the North East, which you can blame me for rightly. And that has created a great furore. The North East wasn't in my mind at all."

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"Desolate" North East: More Twitter response

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@itvtynetees just show what southern based tories who don't leave their area think of us flat capped whippet breeders. Absolute idiot.

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@itvtynetees He's prob used to posh snobbery, anywhere would be desolate to him. Anywhere has it's faults, most people see the good in it

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@tetleystea @itvtynetees I totally agree, in fact my wife & I are planning to move to the northeast from Jersey CI as soon as house sells.

Fracking row could help region says tourism chief

The row over a comment from a Conservative peer that parts of the North East are "desolate" could actually help the region. That's the opinion of one of the people whose job is to attract visitors to Northumberland.

Northumberland Tourism Development Manager Jude Leitch said she wanted to thank Lord Howell for his comment, in a debate over fracking, because of the opportunity it had given people to sing the praises of the region.

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Fracking row: Nick Clegg defends North East

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has defended the North East after senior Conservative Peer Lord Howell said parts of the region were "desolate" and good areas for fracking for underground gas.

Mr Clegg said the North East could become a national hub for excellence in the new green economy. He said the region has some "profound economic and social challenges" but has huge promise as well, which had been recognised by investors like Nissan

Fracking: What the papers are saying

Front pages feature fracking Credit: ITV

The Journal - George Osborne’s father-in-law Lord Howell made a public apology after having described the North East as “desolate” and “uninhabited”.

The Northern Echo - This paper is asking readers to prove Lord Howell wrong by sending in shots of North East beauty spots.

The Telegraph - The 'desolate' North might actually be the best place to introduce fracking, since it would bring about a return to prosperity.

The Guardian - Remarks by Lord Howell, former adviser to William Hague and George Osborne's father-in-law, blasted by environmentalists.

More tweets on 'desolate' NE

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@itvtynetees The North East is a great place to live we have so much to offer and it's definitely not desolate by any means !

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@itvtynetees Howell should visit 'desolate' North East. Comments like this only further N/S divide #poshbutprimitive #lordhowell #foolish

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@itvtynetees The Tyne Valley is such a pretty area on the rail line between Carlisle and Newcastle. Howell should see for himself. #prettyNE

Your tweets on 'desolate' NE

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@itvtynetees And the Tories wonder why they don't get many seats in the NE !! Lord Howell has put their party back to the dark days !!!!

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@itvtynetees There will be fracking friendly areas across the country. Sheer arrogance from a position of privilege to single out the NE.

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@itvtynetees and our region is absolutely beautiful. I love it. We should defend it. I could get militant on this!

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