THE North Yorkshire MP tasked with looking into fracking has expressed concerns about the controversial method – saying the country need a national debate on its future energy supplies.

This week the government opened its bidding process for shale companies seeking licences to explore oil and gas reserves.

But Conservative MP for Thirsk and Malton, Anne McIntosh, said today said there are too many unknowns when it comes to the potential damage to the environment, what will happen to the waste water resulting from the extraction and the impact on drilling on such an intensely populated island as the UK.

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Ms McIntosh is chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs parliamentary committee, which is currently looking at Defra’s responsibility for fracking. In September it will begin taking evidence on the controversial method of gas extraction.

Ms McIntosh was deselected from her seat earlier this year by Thirsk and Malton Conservative Association, who are replacing her with estate agent boss Kevin Hollinrake.

Speaking at today’s Ryedale Show, Ms McIntosh said: “We need to know there’s no environmental disadvantage in the long-term, that the countryside won’t be damaged.

“Shale gas is still a fossil fuel. You have to ask why France has banned fracking; there must be something there?

“What is unknown is what will be the damage to a small island like ours? They don’t know – we don’t have the landmass of America and Australia where fracking takes place.”

She said the committee is looking at proposals to create power from landfill waste, which she feels is a viable option as many landfill sites are reaching full capacity. She said this included incineration and other methods of extracting energy from waste.

"I think about how we dispose of our municipal waste," said Ms McIntosh. "I think we need to be looking at using municipal waste as a resource, providing heat and power.”

The MP said Yorwaste currently shipped landfill waste to Holland, where it was used to create energy for Dutch use and profit.

“I think what’s lacking is the public debate

“I think we should have a really important, national debate about our energy supplies going forward.”