A RYEDALE businesswoman has set up a group in support of fracking.

Lorraine Allanson, who owns a holiday complex in the Vale of Pickering, said she decided to set up the Friends of Ryedale Gas Exploration (FORGE) on Facebook to support the application by Third Energy to carrying out fracking at Kirby Misperton.

Mrs Allanson said: "How many of those who oppose Third Energy's fracking application have actually been to the consultations or visited Knapton Generating Station to find out the exact nature of the operation proposed?

"I have asked many questions and received comprehensive answers from their experts. I believe that anyone else who did so would have their fears allayed. Frustratingly people see dubious articles on the internet and then spout erroneous information and never question the accuracy or truth of what they're saying."

Mrs Allanson said that as a farmer and businesswoman in the tourist industry, she had previous experience of a very similar situation when Knapton Generating Station was proposed more than 20 years ago.

"Alarmists assured us then that we would get sick, crops would be ruined, our animals would die and tourists would no longer visit. Time has shown what absolute nonsense their scaremongering was, hence my refusal to believe this latest ministry," she said.

"Do tourists abandon Cumbria because of Sellafield, or the Vale of Pickering because of the Knapton Maltings plant, or the North York Moors because of Fylingdales? Properly screened, well sites for drilling and producing gas will be a lot less obvious than any of the afore-mentioned."

Mrs Allanson said we would continue to need gas for many decades while renewables develop.

"It’s totally hypocritical of people to benefit from the convenience of gas and all its derivatives while at the same time trying to ban its extraction," she said.

"With the ease of modern life, many have forgotten that the energy we take for granted has to come from somewhere. Yorkshire has a long history of supplying our country’s energy needs. This gas, if extractable, is nationally significant.

"If the gas is below our feet, we should surely develop it to the benefit of the nation as well as local communities, local jobs and local businesses. I believe that tourism, farming and gas extraction can co-exist in Ryedale very happily, indeed they already have done so for 30 plus years. We should grasp this opportunity to make continued energy production a positive thing for Ryedale, Yorkshire and our local economy."

Mrs Allanson said the most disturbing aspect of this debate was that certain elements attempt to split the community by using aggressive and intimidating tactics.

"It is shocking that local residents and businesses are scared to speak out in favour for fear of retribution. I dared to stick my head above the parapet only to be heckled as being nasty," she said.

"Ryedale should embrace this opportunity for its economic future. If we work with Third Energy we could create a positive and exciting new era, safely and as inconspicuously as possible. Building a local economy that would help youngsters have jobs, businesses grow in the supply chain and to encourage hope. The placard waving few rarely create jobs for the masses."

For more information, go facebook.com/ryedalegas or text 07592 432548. All texts count as a vote of support.