FRACKING companies will meet with a North Yorkshire MP to discuss a regional plan for the extraction of shale gas.

Kevin Hollinrake, MP for Thirsk and Malton, has arranged to see the bosses of Cuadrilla, Third Energy, iGas and INEOS next month to find out how the controversial drilling could take shape in his constituency.

He said: "The aim of this meeting will be to create a model of what shale gas extraction would look like in terms of visual and environmental impact and how this can be communicated.

"I believe this is important because, until now, there has not been a clear picture of the visual impact on our countryside so that we can assess how it will affect us."

Mr Hollinrake says he is convinced fracking, which involves drilling and blasting a mix of water and chemicals into the ground to fracture rock and extract shale gas, should go ahead but only in a "balanced and measured" way.

He added: "This means robust regulations in place to protect the environment, minimise the impact on communities, groundwater monitoring, community benefits and exclusion of surface activity relating to hydraulic fracturing in protected areas.

"I intend to keep up the pressure I began in 2015 to get some clear answers and commitments to key issues such as the independent supervision of regulations; a robust ‘local plan’ for fracking covering a five year rollout; detailed solutions for concerns such as traffic plans, distance from schools, town and villages and impacts on other important parts of our economy."

However, Mr Hollinrake's plans to organise a meeting have been met with anger by anti-fracking campaigners.

Monica Griapios, from Hovingham, said: "When he was elected, Mr Hollinrake said that he would be a representative for Thirsk and Malton in Westminster, not Westminster in Thirsk and Malton."

Chris Redston, from Frack Free Ryedale, 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."

But Mr Hollinkrake said: “That’s clearly not the case.

“One of the worries across the country is that fracking will upset the daily lives of people.

“If we are to explore shale gas it should be done in a way to work together and reduce the impact on people’s lives.

“This is about me holding them to account because it has got to be done right or it doesn’t go ahead at all.”