IT has been upsetting to see and experience the scenes of conflict between police and protesters at the gates of the Kirby Misperton fracking site.

The police have undoubtedly been put in a difficult situation, but to step back and look at the bigger picture we must acknowledge that the environmental protesters/protectors have got their feet planted firmly on the moral high-ground.

We simply cannot continue to plunder the earth’s resources until we have used up every last drop, and certainly not with the knowledge we have of the damaging environmental impact of fossil fuels.

Sustainable energy production is the only sensible way forward and other countries are miles ahead on this, they are consistently out-performing us in terms of harnessing renewables. It’s not just solar and wind; tidal and wave power in the North Sea could rejuvenate a declining oil industry. Gas from biological sources not only provides fuel but also limits the emissions of methane from plant and animal waste.

Many other countries, our Scottish neighbours included, have looked at fracking as an option and firmly rejected it. There are countless reports of the nightmares that have unfolded in the US, Canada and Australia. My own research two years ago led me to the work of a vet and a pharmacologist in the US (Bamberger and Oswald) who have written extensively on the subject and collated evidence across agricultural, livestock farming and animal and human health sectors. None of it reads well.

The world is facing massive challenges, not least in how to feed, house and prevent disease in this ever-growing population and how to stop the war and conflict we see on a daily basis. But, if on a community, national and global level we don’t awaken to the idea of looking after this planet for the long haul then everything else becomes somewhat pointless.

Forget fracking... forge a future.

Gill Orme, Pickering

Still confident?

SINCE his arrival as Ryedale’s MP, Kevin Hollinrake’s consistent response to anti-fracking protesters has been that careful monitoring by organisations such as the British Geological Survey (BGS) will be sufficient to oversee safe operation.

But in view of the situation in Lancashire these assurances look increasingly flimsy. At their fracking site there, the company Cuadrilla took a year to report abnormal underground pressure on a well-head they had sealed off.

In response, the government contracted BGS for an independent survey of groundwater quality. This looks like a low-budget sop, however, as information is being collected from a mere five locations across the 1,000 square kilometre area. The fact that BGS is using a rental van with a temporary bit of paper stuck to the side indicates the scale of concern this London-centric government has for our health in the North.

Is Mr Hollinrake still so confident, or will environmental disaster in Ryedale prompt him to step down from Parliament for a directorship of one of these companies?

Dr Peter Williams, Malton

Our unsung heroes

THANK you to the unsung heroes of Malton. I so appreciate these people in town who are always helpful.

One of the great things about living in Malton and why I’m writing this, is so they know their services are valued and not taken for granted.

I’m personally speaking of the people at Malton tip and Malton Post Office, but I am sure there are many others that readers may wish to acknowledge. Thank you.

Sue Jefferson, Malton

Join campaign

I READ with great concern a new report by Breast Cancer Now, “Good Enough? Breast Cancer in the UK”, which highlights how much more needs to be done to save the lives of people with breast cancer.

Although more women are surviving breast cancer than ever before, it is still the most common cancer in the UK with more than 50,000 women diagnosed with the disease each year. And still every year about 11,500 women die of breast cancer in the UK.

The report uncovered a number of issues that need to be addressed in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer. These include the ability to access effective medicines to prevent and treat breast cancer, concerns about having enough specialist cancer doctors and nurses, and unprecedented financial and operational pressures within the NHS.

It is critical that progress is made across these areas, particularly as the number of those living with and beyond breast cancer is expected to rise.

That’s why I’m calling on our MP to take action to ensure that Breast Cancer Now can achieve its vision that by 2050, everyone who develops breast cancer will live. I would encourage others to join me by visiting

Sandy Campbell, Kirkbymoorside