RESIDENTS of the anti-fracking ‘Kirby Misperton Protection Camp’ have signalled the camp’s continued growth with the erection of a new ‘solidaritea saloon’.

The wooden construction joins the kitchen, creche and ‘broadcast tent’ to make an increasingly significant presence at the site.

Meanwhile, the camp protestors, alongside campaign group Frack-Free Ryedale, have expressed concern over energy company INEOS’s takeover of rivals Moorland Energy. INEOS took control of Moorland Energy in December, creating a new company called INEOS 120 Energy Ltd.

The takeover gave INEOS a number of ‘petroleum exploration and development licence’ (PEDL) blocks, covering an area which stretches across the north of Ryedale from west of Helmsley to East Ayton. PEDLs allow companies to pursue gas exploration, subject to drilling consents and planning permission.

Frack-Free have also said that they are concerned INEOS will revive plans for a Thornton-le-Dale gas processing plant. This plant was given permission in 2010.

David Davis, from Hovingham, said: “Planning permission for the gas processing plant at Thornton-le-Dale is still valid until later this year. INEOS can easily apply for an extension to this permission, and may want to use this processing plant to process gas from nearby fracking well-pads.”

An INEOS spokesperson said it had not yet reviewed permissions associated with the site, and added: “We have only recently acquired the licence as part of our regional interest in shale gas. We will review the existing conventional data and permissions in due course.”

Meanwhile, police in Ryedale have released a statement thanking the Protection Camp for confirming that their protest will not affect the forthcoming Tour de Yorkshire. The message said: “Following contact between the Ryedale Neighbourhood Policing Team and the Camp, police are seeking to reassure members of the public and the wider community around the Tour De Yorkshire and its passage through Kirby Misperton and surrounding villages.

“The Protection Camp confirms it has no intention whatsoever to disrupt, or attempt to disrupt the event in any way.

“The police confirm that the camp will still have the ability to promote their message through peaceful means during the Tour de Yorkshire and wish to thank the camp for the early confirmation that the tour will not be affected.”