I meant to say frack North-west, says Tory peer Lord Howell

George Osborne's father-in-law continues to court controversy with new remarks

Environment Editor

Lord Howell, the Tory Peer, has admitted that he had made a mistake in his controversial remarks about fracking – only to clarify that when he said drilling should be carried out in the North-east he in fact meant the North-west of England.

Instead of rowing back on his comments made in the House of Lords earlier in the week, which he admitted had caused a "huge furore", the peer, George Osborne's father-in-law, is quoted as saying in The Daily Telegraph that fracking should "be far away from residences in unloved places that are not environmentally sensitive".

He goes on to lament the construction of wind farms "in sensitive places down in Sussex," according to the newspaper.

His comments are likely to be deemed insulting to people living in the north of England. On Tuesday he described north-east England as "desolate and uninhabited" landscapes that were suitable for fracking.

The chief executive of the fracking company Cuadrilla, which already operates in Lancashire, has pledged to continue with plans to explore for oil in the village of Balcombe, West Sussex, as the number of arrests linked to protests against the project hit 25 after a week of demonstrations. Francis Egan acknowledged that the protests had delayed his programme by several days but said he expected to begin drilling at the site by Friday.

Mr Egan also sought to appease protesters, saying that Cuadrilla has "no intention of ruining the countryside and won't ruin the countryside". His comments came as reports surfaced that Natalie Hynde – daughter of the Pretenders' Chrissie Hynde and Ray Davies of the Kinks – was among those arrested.

Ms Hynde had superglued herself to her boyfriend, the eco-warrior Simon "Sitting Bull" Medhurst, to form a "human lock" around the gate, which police are believed to have tackled with solvent. Mr Egan and politicians were scrambling to distance themselves from comments made on Tuesday by Lord Howell, George Osborne's father-in-law, suggesting that fracking should be confined to the "desolate" North-east of England where it would not have any impact on the surrounding environment.

"I live in the North-east of the country, and certainly from where I look, it's not desolate," Mr Egan said. "Our decisions are made on environmental assessments and going through a fairly rigorous process with the Environment Agency and the planning authority, and that really dictates where we can and can't operate."

The Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg denounced Lord Howell's comments, saying he "strongly disagreed" with them. "Far from the North-east being desolate, it's one of the most beautiful parts of the country, with huge potential."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
people

Harry Potter actor suffered 'severe flu-like symptoms' on a flight from London to Orlando

Arts and Entertainment
Legendary Star Wars filmmaker George Lucas
film
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
tv

First full-length look is finally here

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
Frank Turner performing at 93 Feet East
musicReview: 93 Feet East, London
News
Toronto tops the charts across a range of indexes
news

World cities ranked in terms of safety, food security and 'liveability'

Extras
indybest
Voices
A mother and her child
voices
Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Digital Content Manager

£26000 - £31000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Content Manager is re...

Recruitment Genius: Senior .Net Application Developer

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Office Administrator

£14000 - £17500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The successful applicant will b...

Recruitment Genius: Continuous Improvement Manager

£41500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is going through a period o...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee