ANTI-fracking campaigners have gathered at Kirby Misperton to celebrate a “frack-free” 12 months.

It was a year last Wednesday that Third Energy removed all their equipment and a footpath round the site re-opened.

Protesters from Ryedale, York and Scarborough celebrated by walking the footpath and also vowed to keep campaigning.

Kirby Misperton resident Hazel Winter said: “Around 70 people attended this special celebration which reunited people who had stood together at the gate to oppose fracking.

“However, the village feels in limbo as the future of the pad is uncertain. There is now the threat that the government will fast-track fracking with the industry’s wish-list of mega pads supporting up to 40 wells and back to back drilling.

“We still feel vulnerable, particularly as our MP Kevin Hollinrake is a proponent of the industry. There were many of his constituents at this event and they don’t feel represented.

“We wish he would join the growing number of cross-party MPs who believe fracking has no part to play in the energy mix if the government wishes to combat climate change.”

Mr Hollinrake said: “I am not, in any shape or form, a proponent of the industry itself. As I have said on many occasions, however, I am in favour of producing shale gas as long as it is regulated well so that we protect the landscape and the environment.

“We currently import around half our gas, a figure that will increase significantly over the next decade as we phase out coal-fired power generation and it makes sense to me, and many others, to produce it rather than import it.

“I have campaigned strongly against moving shale into the national planning system and for the strict controls on the number of well-pads as detailed in the North Yorkshire Minerals and Waste Plan.

“There is a similarly low visual impact from a conventional or fracked well pad once development activities are complete.”

Third Energy did not want to comment.