Christopher Massey, Cabinet Member for Environment and Rural Affairs, has explained how energy companies would have to go through many stages of permission before they would be able to carry out fracking on Teesside.
"The Government has granted some licences which concern, amongst other areas, an area stretching east of Middlesbrough to the western edge of Redcar covering South Bank, Grangetown and north of the River Tees.
These licences grant the power to 'search and bore for and get' the Crown's resources, such as oil and gas.
However, before anyone does this they must also approach Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council, as the minerals planning authority, for planning permission for exploration.
This is just one of several consents they would require."
"The council has not received any enquiries from energy companies in respect of exploratory fracking operations.
Furthermore, at this stage it is not known if the fracking technique would be required and it may by that our local gas resources could be mined by more conventional means."
The Government has granted access to land stretching east of Middlesbrough to the western edge of Redcar, covering South Bank, Grangetown and north of the River Tees for the purposes of extracting oil and gas.
Before anyone does that, they must also approach Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council for planning permission.
The council has not received any enquiries from energy companies about fracking.
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."
Kenny Toal has a full round up of the reactions to the comments by Lord Howell that the North East has many desolate areas which would be ideal for fracking.
@itvtynetees just show what southern based tories who don't leave their area think of us flat capped whippet breeders. Absolute idiot.
@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
Blyth Valley MP Ronnie Campbell has hit out at comments by Lord Howell that parts of the North East are "desolate" and a perfect area for fracking for underground gas.
He said Lord Howell showed why "doddery lords who are going gaga should retire, and the sooner the better."
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.
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
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.