LOCAL MP Kevin Hollinrake has delivered an anti-protest petition to Policing Minister Nick Hurd in Westminster.

The 650-signature petition was created by local group Ryedale Against Anti-Social Protesters (RAAP) in order to highlight their concerns over what they describe as “the recent disruptive behaviour of some of the anti-fracking protesters in the Kirby Misperton area.”

Nick Hardman, who founded RAAP, said “Many local residents had suffered disruption to their daily lives caused by a small group of protesters. We are acting to protect our community in the future.”

Anti-fracking protest activity in Ryedale ended several months ago with the dismantling of the so-called Kirby Misperton Protection Camp and the decision by gas firm Third Energy to push back any fracking operations to the autumn.

But RAAP are concerned that the protestors will return if fracking plans are recommenced.

RAAP member Bob Batty added: “RAAP has asked a number of questions regarding how the various agencies concerned are preparing to protect the local communities rights, should the anti-social protesters return.”

Kevin Hollinrake said: “The petitioners are concerned about the negative impact fracking protests have had in the area for which I do have some sympathy.

“It is absolutely proper that people should have the right to protest but residents should also be able to go about their daily business.

“Although the larger protest camp off Kirby Misperton Road has closed, the petitioners are worried that they will return later in the year if the final go ahead for fracking is given.

“They want measures in place to prevent a repeat of the disruption that has gone on in recent months.”

In a statement, the groups Frack Free Ryedale and Kirby Misperton Protection Camp said: “It is interesting to see that our MP is so selective in listening to the voices of his constituents. He appears to be listening to 650 people, whilst ignoring the views of so many more - namely the 4,375 individuals, groups and organisations, as well as the town and village councils - who objected to the planning application to frack in Ryedale.

“As a result of being ignored local people took the only action left open to them; to protest publicly.

“The Government is making moves to allow the shale gas industry to drill, lay well pads and build associated infrastructure without any consultation with local communities or the planning process. This is an outrageous assault on democracy.”