Along footpaths, verges and fields over a large area of Ryedale, seismic equipment has been set up in the past couple of weeks to test for shale.

This is the first step in fracking for shale gas in Ryedale.

Farmers and landowners are being paid to have seismic surveys on their land, but have said they have not been told the surveys are related to fracking. Many do not know. Some do not realise they have the right to refuse access.

TESLA, the company carrying out the surveys on behalf of Third Energy, issued a map beforehand showing where the surveys would be – including Hovingham, Slingsby, Terrington and Nunnington. For those who have not seen it, the equipment is now clearly visible along the road through the Castle Howard estate.

However, TESLA seems to have gone beyond the remit of that map. The village where I live, Barton-le-Street, did not appear to be on TESLA’s map and yet the land at either side of the B1257, both above and below the village, is now dotted with seismic testing kits.

This apparent lack of transparency is a warning for what will come if we do not fight this threat.

Fracking leads to water contamination, air pollution, industrialisation of the countryside, earthquakes, thousands of lorry journeys on country roads, methane leaks and severe health effects in people and animals. Being in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is no protection. The next step will be when a rig turns up in Ryedale.

The government will persuade local authorities into granting planning permission for fracking. They will tell us we need the income. However, the long-term destruction of our environment is too high a price to pay – and there are alternatives. Anyone in any doubt about fracking’s harmfulness can visit Frack Free North Yorkshire’s website, or the national organisation Frack Off.

The public in other European countries has pressured their governments to halt fracking, and we must inform ourselves and be ready to do the same.

There is more information about seismic surveys at

Kate Davy, Barton-le-Street