FRACKING industry leaders have agreed to outline where and when they hope to launch operations in the coming decades as part of a drive by an MP to address rising levels of community concern.

Energy firms Cuadrilla, iGas, Ineos and Third Energy, which have plans to extract gas in North Yorkshire and the North-East, pledged to map out where high pressure techniques may be used to extract shale gas after being told remaining silent could aggravate public opposition.

Thirsk and Malton MP Kevin Hollinrake, who held the summit at Westminster, said communities in areas such as his, where numerous oil and gas exploration licences have been granted, should be given details in the coming months about future hydraulic fracturing projects.

Mr Hollinrake held the meeting despite strong opposition from anti-fracking campaigners who claimed it would give a platform to the fracking firms to persuade residents in the region public the gas production system was safe.

The Conservative MP, who is setting up an all-party parliamentary committee "to hold the industry to account", said he challenged the firms to be more open.

He said: "It was a difficult start, but we got on the same wavelength after a while. What people do is much more relevant than what people say, so the next stage will be to see what comes out of the meeting in terms of action points and clear information.

"I think there's a feeling in the industry that 'we will cross that bridge when we come to it', but I don't think that's right.

"Our experience is when you say to people 'if it was done like this would you be more comfortable?', the answer is generally 'yes we would'.

"A lot of people are very worried by these plans and we need to be able to explain to people today that they don't need to be too concerned that these things aren't going to be addressed and in a way that's sensitive to local communities and the environment."

Mr Hollinrake added there was consensus at the meeting that a lead regulator for the industry was needed to establish accountability.

The meeting followed a protest outside the MP's constituency surgery in Malton on Saturday.

Steve Mason, of Frack Free Ryedale, said: “Kevin Hollinrake should be calling for a new inquiry on fracking, not trying to facilitate it.

“It makes no business sense to be introducing an aggressive industry like this. In the current economic climate it is a loss leader, unless huge subsidies are there to support."