I WANT to register my deep concerns about fracking nationally, and in our area in particular. There are too many flaws and unknowns to allow “any” exploration until much more research has been completed and public information shared.

We did not have any representative from any political party canvassing us at the last General Election, but to my limited knowledge it was not a major point of discussion at that time. It’s clear to me we are being rail-roaded into something which could potentially have many serious effects without knowledge or debate.

Sadly, too many politicians have lost credibility with the public on all sorts of topics, so for the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer to “tell” us we need “it” (shale gas) is just too ridiculous to believe. I have not voted for it, either nationally or locally, so I’m not prepared to accept it without some serious justification and debate.

My main concerns are the significant amounts of waste water expected to be produced as a result of these operations. Allegedly, last month the Government censored a report it had commissioned in which the areas of censorship included the effect on house prices, economic impacts, social impacts and environmental impacts.

If the Government is so concerned about the impacts of such a report, should we as concerned citizens be extremely worried about the impact of the full content of such a report? We live in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (Howardian Hills) and have a national park (North York Moors) only a few miles away. In a blighted landscape what will be the effect on tourism, agricultural and the natural environment?

We need to have clearly explained a cost versus benefit analysis. Why, with such negative publicity and concern as is being shown in the US, and by other governments (Germany in particular) is the UK Government going headlong into this without being open and transparent about the effects?

Then is anyone surprised when mention of road widening causes such an uproar. We seem to be taking very little notice of global warming. Please, please don’t let us be so stupid as to allow another potential local, national and maybe global disaster.

David Turner, Hovingham

FRACK Free Ryedale welcomes Councillor Lindsay Burr’s comments in her recent column about the threat of fracking to the area, and we are pleased to see that councillors are now prepared to voice their private concerns in public.

However, Coun Burr says she understands “that our national park is protected, thank goodness”.

Unfortunately, this is untrue.

Although the Government announced on July 28 that it was tightening guidelines for fracking in National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs), fracking in these areas can still be allowed in “exceptional circumstances and in the public interest”.

However, what constitutes “exceptional circumstances” has never been defined.

As reported in the Gazette & Herald of September 3, Third Energy recently applied for permission to drill an injection well at Ebberston Moor, in the North York Moors National Park, which Frack Free Ryedale said it will use to inject millions of gallons of contaminated and radioactive waste water back into the ground.

We shall be opposing this application and we urge all concerned residents and businesses in Ryedale to do the same.

Adela Pickles, Frack Free Ryedale

COMING from Castleton, and with a home in Rosedale Abbey, I’d like to say clearly that I am 100 per cent behind exploiting British gas reserves with established and safe technology – fracking. I’ve been earning my living for the previous 20 years working in “frac” drilling and completion operations.

Frac has been used in the UK, Australia and the US for more than 50 years already. It is a proven and safe technology for extracting gas (and oil) from deep below the surface.

The environmental risks from gas exploitation using “frac” are minimal, well-known, and easily managed.

The benefits include the following: creation of jobs; increased wealth in the local community; natural gas exploitation requires a very small surface “footprint”; and production sites are not noisy, or smelly, and they’re easily screened compared with wind farms, coal mines, etc; provision of gas from Britain means we’re not reliant on getting energy from overseas; natural gas is clean and safe; creating additional wealth from “frac” gas means we have the resources to better be able to protect our environment from the real problems it faces.

The downside is: three- to four-month period when drilling, the drill-rig is visible in the landscape; increased local traffic during the construction and drilling phase as workers and equipment come and go; minimal landscape disturbance for construction of the drilling “location”.

Frac does not cause earthquakes or water pollution. The chemicals used in frac are not particularly hazardous – most homes in Ryedale would have all the chemicals used in frac in their bathroom or under the kitchen sink.

In summary, frac and natural gas exploitation has the potential to transform Ryedale for the better; bringing much-needed employment to the area, raising living standards and creating a new energy source for the British economy. We’d be mad to reject for spurious, unfounded environmental protection reasons.

Dr Graham Marshall, Rosedale Abbey