ONE hundred and 50 people attended an extraordinary meeting of Ryedale District Council hoping to hear an important debate about the North Yorkshire County Council Joint Waste and Minerals Plan.

The council, rather than welcome such interest in the democratic process, decided to limit the number of people allowed to enter the public gallery to just 30, with only those people who received a “lucky ticket” being allowed in.

I have been a Ryedale District councillor for some 15 years and have never been so embarrassed by the action of council as in this blatant bid to exclude the public.

I have sat in several meetings where more than 100 people have packed the council chamber and been delighted to see them as their presence ensures that the council is accountable to the electorate and its business is carried out in a transparent way.

On other occasions, when large numbers of people have been expected, the council has moved to a larger venue, but on this occasion requests by myself and several other members were dismissed on spurious health and safety grounds.

Everyone who attended the meeting wanted to hear the debate on whether the council should fund an expert to represent its position at the Examination in Public of the Joint Waste and Minerals Plan to ensure that Ryedale residents get the best possible outcome on where fracking takes place in the district and other essential aspects such as well density. They were understandably annoyed and disappointed not to be allowed to fulfil their democratic right to listen to the debate.

This deliberate exclusion of the public from this meeting was disgraceful and marks a new low in the history of the council.

Dinah Keal, district and town councillor for Norton West

Shameful actions

WHILE the constant stream of misinformation from the anti-fracking protest community continues, most recently with Martin Brampton’s letter to this paper citing a deeply-flawed interpretation of a US health study, the people of Ryedale continue to suffer at the hands of political activists exploiting fear and nimbyism to pursue their own agenda. The continuing presence of protesters in Kirby Misperton is denying others their basic rights to live and work unhindered.

The complete lack of action by both North Yorkshire County Council and Ryedale District Council, the latter of which has allowed protesters to disrupt and terminate important meetings, is nothing short of shameful.

There is, it would appear, one law for residents and another for protesters, and it is the residents who ultimately pay the price to police these protests.

We have been abandoned by those we elected to represent us, and who have allowed our local democracy to be derailed by anarchists.

Charlotte McNeish, Reclaim The Peace

Risk to oceans

THANK you. What an admirably moderate, balanced and informed set of letters on the fracking issue.

Add to these reasoned objections those new ones focusing on the pollution caused by the manufacture and disposal of cheap plastics, filtering in comments by the chief economist of the American Chemistry Council who summarises the boom in plastic production in two words - shale gas.

This crisis, fuelled by the drive for cheap plastics enabled by shale, is causing the “near permanent pollution of the earth” and oceans. Deoxygenation is an additional fossil-fuelled risk to the life of our oceans.

I honestly wonder how, indeed if, risks of such magnitude can continue to be overlooked by the proponents of shale at North Yorkshire County Council, and elsewhere in the country. There is a “cognitive dissonance” here, similar to that suffered by our government which continues to “bang... on about oil and gas when (it’s) supposed to be talking about low-carbon energy” (David Powell of the New Economics Foundation in TruePublica, December 5, 2017).

David Cragg-James, Stonegrave

Internet to blame

RE: Dale Lowther’s column in the Gazette & Herald, referring the closure of banks where she lives.

I live in Pickering and apart from Westminster Bank, Barclays and the Yorkshire Bank, there isn’t a Lloyd’s.

My nearest Lloyd’s Bank is either York, Scarborough, Pocklington, Driffield or Thirsk, all between 15 and 23 miles travelling distance by car. However, cheques can be paid into the Post Office provided you supply a paying-in slip with sort code and account details. This is a good alternative, not wanting to travel 15 to 23 miles to deposit my cheque at Lloyd’s.

However, my cheque book doesn’t have paying-in slips; so I suppose this is a paper-saving method. So I have had to phone Lloyds and ask for a paying in book.

It has been reported recently there are to be further closures of Lloyds Banks up and down the country.

While it is bad news for their employees, it is also bad news for their customers and not everyone does internet banking, many people prefer to personally visit their bank.

The blame for these closures, whatever bank, must fairly and squarely lie with internet banking.

Ann Searle, Pickering

Can you help?

MY name is Sue Bourne and I now live in Leeds, but attended Malton Grammar School from 1965 to 1967 as Susan Makins.

Can anyone please help me to contact David Taylor, son of Eric Taylor, who lived near the top end of Welham Road in Norton and attended Malton Grammar School.

Any helpful information will be most gratefully received by emailing Sue Bourne, Leeds