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‘Fracked off’ North East titles remain defiant

Newspapers in the North East have continued their onslaught against comments from a peer labelling the region “desolate”.

In a House of Lords debate this week, Lord Howell of Guildford suggested that fracking – mining for shale gas – should be limited to the North East as it has swathes of sparsely-inhabited, desolate land suitable for such operations.

In the wake of the comments, Newcastle daily The Journal published an eye-catching montage of images on the front page designed to highlight the rugged beauty of the region – and have now followed it up with a second splash dedicated to the Lord’s confession he may actually have meant Lancashire, plus a double-page spread of readers’ photos from around the area.

And the Northern Echo, which also drew attention with its poster front and “Fracked off” headline, went one step further and produced a special pull-out heralding all that is not-desolate about the North East, which was heavily promoted on the paper’s front page.

The double-page spread in the Journal followed an eye-catching splash on Wednesday

In a blog, editor Peter Barron said he would be sending a copy of the supplement – which features pictures illustrating the views on offer in the region – to the Peer.

He wrote: “In this beautiful region of ours, his comments were treated with the contempt they deserve. Here at The Northern Echo we told him, bluntly, that we were well and truly “Fracked off” and that he didn’t know what he was talking about.

“Well today, it seems he’s even more confused because he has apparently told North-East MP Ian Lavery that he was actually talking about Lancashire.

“It’s becoming more and more like a Harry Enfield sketch: ‘Durham? Lancashire? Oh, you know, up there in the bleak north somewhere. It’s all the same – bloody desolate, don’t you know’.”

The front page of the Northern Echo, promoting a special pull-out of pictures of the "desolate" North East