THE war of words between a Ryedale energy firm and anti-fracking campaigners intensified this week after campaigners questioned the company’s ability to pay for a clean-up in the event of environmental contamination.

The Frack-Free Ryedale group highlighted that Third Energy received a warning from the Registrar of Companies that it could be struck from the register should it not disclose its company accounts within the next two months.

However, the firm insisted that there was no problem and said its financial figures will be submitted on time.

Ian Conlan, of Frack-Free Ryedale, said: “Given the significant financial difficulties faced by other operators possessing licences to frack, such as iGas, we hold grave concerns about the ability of these companies to operate such risky technology responsibly and safely when faced with such financial pressures to cut costs.”

Russell Scott, from Frack-Free North Yorkshire, who unearthed the findings, said: “Scores of fracking companies in the US have gone bankrupt leaving a bitter legacy.”

However a spokesman for Third Energy said that its accounts were in the final stages of being finalised.

He said: “The conditions of our planning permissions have been agreed with North Yorkshire County Council and Environment Agency and were recently reviewed favourably by a High Court Judge. The 2015 accounts are being finalised. The company, and others in the Third Energy Group, have and will continue to file their accounts in the proper manner.”

Meanwhile, claims made in a leaflet by the charity Friends of the Earth (FoE) - about the effects of fracking on the health of local populations, drinking water and property prices - have been found by the Advertising Standards Authority to not be backed up by evidence. They asked FoE not to repeat the claims, and the charity gave an assurance they would not be.

This ruling was welcomed by the industry. INEOS shale operations director Tom Pickering said: “We are pleased to see the record corrected. For too long Friends of the Earth have been wilfully misleading the public on fracking to fulfil their anti-fossil fuel agenda. Hopefully this will be a lesson to them.”

Anti-fracking activists are currently camped out near Kirby Misperton at their so-called protection camp, which continues to grow. The Lord Mayor of York, Councillor Dave Taylor, and the Lady Mayoress, Susan Ridley, visited the Protectors on Saturday to drop off supplies and show their support.