POLITICAL parties in Ryedale who oppose fracking have condemned the Conservative manifesto, claiming it gives a green light to the shale gas industry in the district.

The Tory manifesto, launched last week, said that in the US, shale gas has been “a revolution”, adding it has been “driving growth in the American economy and pushing down prices for consumers”, as well as having a lower carbon footprint than coal.

The manifesto goes on to say: “We will therefore develop the shale industry in Britain. We will only be able to do so if we maintain public confidence in the process, if we uphold our rigorous environmental protections, and if we ensure the proceeds of the wealth generated by shale energy are shared with the communities affected.

“We will legislate to change planning law for shale applications. Non-fracking drilling will be treated as permitted development, expert planning functions will be established to support local councils, and, when necessary, major shale planning decisions will be made the responsibility of the National Planning Regime.”

Analysis from Friends of the Earth suggested this move would “bring drilling under a regime originally designed to deal with minor and low impact building works, such as changing garden fences”.

Alan Avery, the Labour Party candidate for Thirsk and Malton, paid a visit to the Kirby Misperton Protection Camp last weekend. He said: “When Labour is elected to government it will ban fracking and replace it with a comprehensive green energy strategy for the future.”

Di Keal, Thirsk and Malton Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate, said: “It is clear from the Tory manifesto that they intend to give the fracking companies the go ahead and take all local democratic input into the planning process away.

“We will continue to fight the Tories ‘dash for gas’ towards an industry that puts at risk public health, the environment, jobs and the economy.”

Stuart Lane, of Cross Party Frack Free, said: “We have a simple choice, strong and stable support for a clean future proof energy sector, or dirty, economically non-viable, damaging smash and grab policies that move us further away from a robust sustainable energy sector.”