ON August 29, the Australian state of Victoria permanently banned fracking concluding “It is clear that the Victorian community has spoken. They simply don’t support fracking” and “the risks involved outweigh any potential benefits to Victoria”.

The Victoria government stated that the move would protect the reputation of Victoria’s agriculture sector, and end anxiety felt by farmers about the environmental and health risks associated with fracking.

Research in Australia had also found that for every 10 new gas jobs, 18 agricultural jobs were lost.

In the same week an in-depth report published by Johns Hopkins University in the US concluded that living near a fracking site almost doubles the risk of migraines, chronic sinus problems and severe fatigue.

Meanwhile in North Yorkshire, despite the numerous health and environmental warnings, Third Energy, supported by MP Kevin Hollinrake, want to commence test fracking in Kirby Misperton.

The KM8 test frack is the tip of the iceberg in North Yorkshire. If deemed successful Third Energy has stated openly its intention for a further 950 fracking wells. Another fracking company INEOS has plans for potentially 4,000 wells across Yorkshire.

If we allow this industry to settle in North Yorkshire it could mean decades of a potentially irreversible, industrialisation process, creating negative impacts on public health, our environment and our farming and tourism industries and potentially devaluing of property prices by up to eight per cent according to Defra.

Standing up to the fracking industry, challenging our elected representatives and campaigning for a ban on fracking is crucial if were are to protect the Ryedale way of life and avoid leaving a dangerous legacy for future generations to clean up.

It’s time the UK followed the lead of Victoria, and others such as New York, France and Germany and ban fracking immediately.

Russell Scott, Ryedale and London

Fracking gas worry

YOUR article “Frack-site gas not any danger” (Gazette & Herald, August 24) to “reassure residents near an impending fracking operation” has done just the opposite for me. It refers to radioactive radon gas that is a known carcinogen and potentially present in fracked gas.

After more than three years of following the fracking debate, I soon found that it isn’t what pro-fracking industry and government leaders say that is most important; it’s what they carefully avoid saying.

These are invariably intelligent, articulate PR people that know they have to choose their words very deliberately, but are often cleverly evasive or ambiguous.

For example, Third Energy told our then MP Anne McIntosh at a government inquiry that they had no intention to frack at Kirby Misperton. Partially true, as they presumably still intend subcontracting their fracking to Halliburton.

Prof MacDonald, chairman of UK Onshore Oil and Gas, said “the first monitoring measurements at the area surrounding Third Energy’s well at Kirby Misperton suggested that radon concentration in the outdoor air was close to the UK average”. That reassures me that prior to fracking operations, radon levels are fairly normal. However, what happens if/when fracking wells start to spread their industrial tentacles across Ryedale, when gas is forced out of the shale, previously locked away deep below us.

There is now clear evidence that huge quantities of methane are leaking from wells and pipelines in the US, seriously exacerbating climate change. There are also highly elevated levels of radon gas. If clever US engineers are unable or unwilling to prevent such damaging fugitive emissions, would Prof MacDonald please explain how the industry will effectively do so in the UK, preferably with hard evidence, rather than a few carefully chosen weasel-words of reassurance.

Cllr Mike Potter, Pickering

Collection thanks

THE Pickering committee of Yorkshire Cancer Research would like to thank everyone who contributed to our street collections in Pickering and Thornton-le-Dale on July 23 and Kirkbymoorside on August 10.

The collection in Pickering and Thornton-le-Dale amounted to £767.46 and Kirkbymoorside £374, making an excellent total of £1,141.46.

Thank you to our collectors without whom we cannot raise this money.

All the money is sent to our head office in Harrogate to fund research at the five Yorkshire universities and teaching hospitals to help people in Yorkshire avoid, survive and cope with cancer.

Valerie Chadwick, Secretary, Yorkshire Cancer Research, Pickering committee