RYEDALE councillors are set to decide how to respond to Government proposals about a new shale gas wealth fund.

The proposed fund would see 10 per cent of tax revenues arising from fracking to be used for the benefit of communities - such as Ryedale - which host well sites.

At a full meeting of Ryedale District Council tomorrow (Thursday), members will agree on how to respond to the Government's consultation on the matter.

The consultation proposes two priorities for the fund. These are that, firstly, the communities which are local to shale developments should benefit, and secondly, that fracking should leave a legacy of local and regional economic growth.

The consultation was welcomed by gas company Third Energy, who have been given permission to test-frack at their Kirby Misperton well.

A spokesman said: "Third Energy, which has been producing gas and energy safely and securely in North Yorkshire for over 20 years, is a firm believer that the local community should benefit from any unconventional gas production in the local area."

However, the fund has also been labelled as a "bribe" by anti-fracking campaigners. Last month, a spokesman for Frack-Free Ryedale said: "This is a cynical attempt by the Tories to bribe local people to accept fracking by offering them hard cash."

At the meeting, the council is also set to approve proposals which could lead to the sale of council buildings such as Ryedale House in Old Malton.

The policy report, which has come through the overview and scrutiny committee as well as the policy and resources committee already, outlines the challenges faced by the council as they implement their ‘Towards 2020’ cost-cutting programme.

Its purpose was to look into what sort of property the council owns, what they use it for, what condition is it in and how much it currently costs.

On Ryedale House, the report says that there is an agreement in principle to dispose of it and that it might make a potential site for residential housing, adding: "Ryedale House will not be a cost-effective option for the future delivery of services."