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30 July 2013, 18:32
Lord Howell has apologised after he was criticised for suggesting that fracking should be carried out in the "desolate'' North East.
The Tory peer, who was a Government adviser on energy policy until April, insisted he had not meant to insult the region.
He said in a statement:
"I apologise for any offence caused.
I certainly did not intend to suggest that the North East is desolate and I do not believe it to be the case.
There are parts of the country that are less densely inhabited than others.
That includes parts of the North East but also other areas in the south of England as well.
The shale gas industry should be encouraged to develop in a sustainable way where it is appropriate to do so and in way that ensures communities benefit, which could be in many different parts of country.''
People in the North East took to Twitter to show their ager at their region being described as desolate by Lord Howell.
Soon after his comments were reported, people began to respond by posting pictures of many of the North East's beauty spots.
These included images of Bamburgh Castle, the isle of Lindisfarne, Durham Cathedral and Hadrian's Wall.
Other pictures posted using included Newcastle's quayside, Dunstanburgh Castle and Kielder Water.