HUNDREDS of protestors gathered in the sunshine outside Kirby Misperton village hall this afternoon to make their opposition to fracking known.

The event happening inside the hall was a drop-in information session held by Third Energy, designed to allow members of the public to "have their questions answered" and learn more about the process of gas extraction through hydraulic fracturing.

The hall had been set up with notice boards containing facts, figures and diagrams relating to fracking, and Third Energy staff were on hand to talk through the process.

The posters also sought to clarify public concerns, including that there will be no drilling (because the well was already drilled in 2013), that there will be no risk to health, and that there will be no "flaring" of gas, as happens in America.

They also drew attention to the requirement for gas in the production of a huge array of everyday products, and its importance for heating homes.

Despite a small security presence in place to keep the numbers in the hall at safe levels, the atmosphere both inside the hall and outside was convivial and calm.

Liz Vowles, of Kirkbymoorside, was looking at posters and reading through a report. She said: "I've come to try to gather some information to make an opinion really.

"I haven't seen much information about the things that concern me, like what I've heard about the health impacts. I have a two-year-old daughter and anything that's going to be vaguely unhealthy - I don't want her living in a place like that."

Steve Mason, a local business owner said: "I am far from reassured about the whole process and the effect it will have on our local community."

John Dewar, operations director at Third Energy said: “We would like to thank everyone who attended the event today and asked questions about our operations and the future of UK energy.

“If anyone has any other questions please email us on

“We welcomed a number of community members who object to our plans to discuss their concerns with members of my team.

"Third Energy fully respects people’s right to lawful and peaceful protest, we trust that those who do object to our plans will also respect our rights, and the rights of Ryedale residents, to go about our business lawfully and peacefully as operations continue in the coming months.”

Key concerns among protestors included whether or not the regulatory bodies are sufficiently resourced and what they see as "the industrialisation of the landscape" if more gas wells by other companies are allowed into the district.

The impact of continued fossil fuel extraction on climate change was another.

Mike Potter, a district councillor, said: "The bottom line for me is all about climate change.

"I want to know how long this industry is going to take to ramp up to full commercial production? I'm being told 10-15 years.

"If you look at the figures for CO2 in the atmosphere - we're reaching the point of no return in the next decade.

"We've signed up to the Paris accord. You look around the world. You don't need to look further than Houston at the moment. The last three years have been the hottest on record. These are facts."

Speaking after meeting with Third Energy, Cllr Tim Thornton added that he was concerned that local health is not being monitored in the same way that environmental factors like air and water are.

"People say they are worried that they are guinea pigs," he said. "I reassure them. I say 'you're not guinea pigs at all'.

"You're sacrifical lambs."

Next week will see regulators the Environment Agency, the Health and Safety Executive, the Oil and Gas Authority, Public Health England and Ryedale District Council put on an information session at the hall.

Third Energy are currently discharging the final conditions of their planning permission before the test frack which will take place in a few months.

More in Gazette & Herald on Wednesday.