AN anti-fracking campaign group is urging Ryedale residents to deny gas companies access to their land.

Members of Frack Free North Yorkshire, set up to support the fight against fracking in the area, have reacted angrily to the news that more seismic surveys have been commissioned across Ryedale in the search for shale gas.

Russell Scott, of Frack Free North Yorkshire, said that gas company Third Energy UK Gas Limited has appointed Tesla Exploration International Limited to conduct 3D seismic surveys in areas around Nunnington, Stonegrave, Brawby, Swinton, Hovingham, Slingsby, Terrington and Coulton.

He said that he is concerned that the planning application, which was submitted in May, will mean that fracking is one step closer to happening in Ryedale.

"We are concerned that this is another blatant attempt by Third Energy to search for shale gas in Ryedale and we would strongly urge all residents to deny access to Third Energy and Tesla onto their land to complete these intrusive surveys," he said.

"We believe these surveys are the first steps towards fracking being potentially rolled out across our communities."

Worries that fracking will lead to an increase in air and water pollution have been raised and the campaign groups battle has been ongoing since Third Energy began drilling at a site in Kirby Misperton last year.

Russell said: "Frack Free North Yorkshire will oppose any plans by Third Energy and others to search for shale gas in Ryedale. The fracking industry is not wanted here and we will continue to campaign for this practice to be banned."

A spokesman for Third Energy said that the 3D surveys should begin this month and would last between six to eight weeks with work being carried out seven days a week. However he said that the surveys, which will determine the underlying geological structure of the land, will not show whether there is any underlying gas in the area.

He said: "Third Energy has an ongoing programme for a number of years to undertake such surveys to ensure coverage over its licence areas and has previously done so in the Vale of Pickering in 2007 and East of Ebberston Moor in 2012.

"All operations will comply with relevant central and local government regulations and the necessary consents and licenses have been obtained."

Frack Free North Yorkshire will be holding two film screenings and information meetings to raise awareness of the issues of Fracking in the area. The first will be held on Wednesday, July 16 from 7-9pm at Terrington Village Hall and the second will be held on Thursday, July 17 at the same time at Hovingham Village Hall.

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