I’M sure that we all respect the right of the anti-fracking lobby to mount reasonable protests against the fracking trial at Kirby Misperton.

But surely, that right does not extend to interference with “ordinary working people” doing their lawful work, or secondary picketing of contractors to the operation.

I’m also offended by the frequent claims by these protesters that they are doing it to “protect” this community, and claim a democratic mandate to do so. They have no such mandate. They do not act on my behalf or with my approval, and I do not require this “protection”, thanks very much.

From a totally unscientific series of discussions in the area, I know I’m not alone in this response. There is in fact no evidence whatsoever to suggest that Ryedale people oppose fracking in large numbers; in fact, Kevin Hollinrake, whose stand on this is well-known to be in favour of well-regulated fracking, increased his majority in the General Election.

Whatever the rights and wrongs of fracking (and we should know a lot more after this trial), this behaviour is not helpful or edifying - and will not succeed, since the trial will certainly go ahead, no matter what the protesters might wish. And what’s more, I’m sure it’s costing local taxpayers a fortune in police time.

Protesters, you’ve made your point. Please now get out of the way - and stop claiming that spurious democratic authority.

David Hoggard, Malton

Follow the example

LAST week the Scottish government announced a ban on fracking. Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse told MSPs that the practice “cannot and will not take place in Scotland”.

Mr Wheelhouse said the consultation came back with “overwhelming” opposition to fracking, with 99 per cent of the 60,000 respondents supporting a ban. He said this showed that “there is no social licence for unconventional oil and gas to be taken forward at this time”.

Also in news - Maryland become the third US state to permanently ban hydraulic fracturing, ending several years of debate over whether to allow the gas-extraction.

Yet here in North Yorkshire, Third Energy, facilitated by our weak government, presses ahead with plans to frack at Kirby Misperton. In doing so they ignore the risks now proven in the peer reviewed scientific studies and continue to ignore the vast majority of our community who oppose fracking.

It’s time we followed the examples set by Scotland and Maryland and ban fracking here too.

Russell Scott, Cropton

Thanks for support

SINCE my daughter Dr Sophie Williams was taken ill with Japanese Encephalitis in China in 2015, the support of the community in Malton and Norton and the surrounding areas has meant a great deal to me and my family and Sophie’s partner, Robert.

In recent months, we have launched fundraising campaign to raise £60,000 – with the goal of adapting Sophie’s house in North Wales to accommodate Sophie, Robert and two carers, taking into account her 24-hour care needs.

At the start of the year, two of Sophie’s friends from Bangor University and the botanic gardens in Bangor and myself set up a trust fund. An appeal was launched and various fundraising events have taken place.

My recent climb up Snowdon in Wales has to this date raised more than £5,300. This far exceeded my expectations. Thank you to everyone who donated and for your kind words of encouragement.

Two weeks ago, a Just Giving page for Sophie went live. After 12 days it had reached £4,500. The donations have come from far and wide and in many cases people who have never met Sophie. To date, the total amount raised is over £25,000.

I would also to thank the Encephalitis Society who, by some twist of fate, have their headquarters literally yards from my business in Castlegate in Malton. The support offered to myself and the family has been immeasurable.

The fact that Sophie’s story has touched so many people and she has received so much support from so many people here in Ryedale, North Wales and people she has met during her travels around the world has been humbling and has made me even more proud to be Sophie’s father.

If you would like to support Sophie’s appeal, please visit justgiving.com/crowdfunding/sophiewilliams. A big thank you to everyone.

Mike Williams, Rillington

Be informed

I AM writing in response to Helen Mead’s opinion piece “Why should we have to iron out differences”, discussing activities by some retailers to reduce gender-based marketing.

I would suggest that, rather than being an insidious attempt to erase individual preferences, it is a welcome effort to minimise imposed stereotypes that have little to do with inherent gender differences.

I would highly recommend that anyone who truly would like to be informed about the very real effects that such marketing and social pressures can have, read the recent winner of the Royal Society’s Science Book of the Year, “Testosterone Rex: Unmaking the Myths of Our Gendered Minds” by Cordelia Fine.

This book presents the actual evidence (or lack of it) for claims about fundamental gender differences in an incredibly informative and also entertaining way. Read it with an open mind and, even if you think some of the recent efforts mentioned by Ms Mead may be misguided, you may end with an inspired heart and a greater understanding of the complex issues involved.

Jean McKendree, Westow