Fracking is in all our back yards

COUNCILLOR Luke Ives is delighted that the Whitewall asphalt plant has been rejected by the planning inspectorate after a near three-year battle (Gazette, August 26).

I can only assume that the inspector carefully weighed up all the pros and cons before coming to a balanced decision that dismissed the plan due to “unsuitable location and impact on the environment, surrounding roads and racehorse industry”.

This decision creates an interesting precedent for Third Energy planning application, as precisely those same risks and impacts, plus many more, will be created by fracking, except potentially at several hundred locations all over Ryedale, rather than at one single quarry site, and accessed via significantly more unsuitable roads.

As new licences for unconventional gas extraction covering much of northern England have just been sold by the government, including Malton and Norton, this puts the firmly pro-fracking Cllr Ives’ constituents directly at risk.

The word hypocrite springs to mind. One can but wonder what orders, threats or inducements are emanating from Conservative party headquarters to support fracking, irrespective of known risks.

It certainly won’t take three years to decide the Third Energy application. North Yorkshire County Council must rush to decide in three months, or risk government ministers taking the decision away from them and even from experienced planning inspectors. Perhaps they keep coming up with inconvenient decisions based on the facts.

As Cllr Ives lives a few doors down from the quarry site, the word Nimby sprang to mind too, but will be inappropriate for fracking, as it will be in everyone’s back yard.

One dark cloud may have lifted from the asphalt plant, but massive storm clouds are gathering over Ryedale and the whole of North Yorkshire. Are you going to watch it happen or make your voice heard?

Mike Potter, Pickering Fracking different to gas exploration WHO are the Friends of Ryedale Gas Exploration (Forge)? Who writes the press releases for Forge?

For Lorraine Allanson of Forge to claim that gas exploration has been happening safely across the region for decades is mendacious.

Fracking is a very different process at three times the depth with vastly more risks than conventional gas exploration.

Ms Allanson surely knows that widespread fracking across Ryedale would utterly transform the landscape and the safety of our environment; she could say as much in the next Forge press release.

Simon Sweeney, Sheriff Hutton


Suspicious of Forge’s motives

I’M always curious about people’s motives.

Frack Free Ryedale’s main objective seems to be to keep Ryedale beautiful and unspoilt. What is Forge’s agenda? When it appears that the new application for Kirby Misperton doesn’t create a single new job in the area and actually actively threatens the local economy, which relies heavily on tourism and farming, I have to ask myself why is Forge so in favour of fracking and cheerleading for Third Energy? Call me cynical.

Sally Gordon-Finlayson, Stonegrave


Undermined by a lack of research

REGARDING Mr Gammon’s reply to my letter on fracking. Yes, he (not we) does need to do more research on fracking.

I didn’t mention depleted uranium as this is certainly not used.

If he took the trouble to log onto Third Energy’s development of Kirby Misperton online, he would find the following statement. “What is in the fracturing fluid”?

Typical fluid content will be 99 per cent water and sand and less than one per cent additives, the exact proportions vary as each fracture is designed for the target geology.

The additives perform various functions such as helping to carry the sand and preventing the growth of bacteria.

In the UK all constituents of the fluid – both quantity and concentration – have to be disclosed to the Environment Agency and approved by them.

The additives are commonly used substances that are non-hazardous and are typically found in most homes, many of them in food and toiletries.

This info is freely available and if Mr Gammon had bothered to check his claims, he would have discovered that Third Energy were not planning to launch devastation on Ryedale by filling wells full of uranium.

He should also bear in mind that uranium is a mined commodity, it is a natural element of this planet.

Finally, without trying to sound like a stuck record, I can only repeat that Halliburton were found to be three per cent, yes, that is three per cent responsible for the deepwater horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

Neil Milbanke, Thornton-le-Dale


We are living in a sacrifice zone

I WAS saddened when I saw the list of licences for fracking released recently. It took me a little time to understand them.

First I had to plot them on a map, then add in the licences previously granted. The best way to understand the enormity of the threat to Yorkshire and Ryedale, in particular, is to look at the map that shows the areas the Government has decided to offer to fracking companies.

How can the Environment Agency and our councils consider with significant rigour, this huge area – the North York Moors block, Rosedale, Farndale, Kirkbymoorside, Helmsley, and Malton, including the City of York?

We should not discriminate; this will have a huge impact on everyone in our county. We cannot be sure what the impact will be because it has not been studied adequately.

In our “dash for gas” there is no time, budget or appetite for finding out about the disadvantages to those who live in and love the area, now described as the Northern Power House.

We are living in a “gas field” and what may become a “sacrifice zone”. What we have discovered from the studies on fracking in USA is a cause for concern.

and should direct us to pause and think, not dash.

Dr Tim Thornton, Middleton


Car park cash is a loss to the town

ANNE Hopkinson asks “where are we now” re: Wentworth Street car park (Gazette, September 2).

We, as tax payers are more than half a million pounds worse off and still with no end in sight.

How many tourist information centre’s could be kept open, CCTV cameras left switched on or garden waste bins emptied with half a million pounds?

I have great respect for Anne, she was the only Conservative on the planning committee to vote against a supermarket on Wentworth Street car park. However, she was also the only Conservative who stood for re-election in May to lose their seat. So how can she claim that “many Conservative are embarrassed by the amount of money wasted by Ryedale District Council in the name of the Conservatives”?

I’ve heard it said that the Conservative think the electorate are stupid, the electorate seem determined to prove them right.

Tommy Woodward, Pickering


Search is on for info on George

AS part of a family history project, I would like to make contact with anyone who either knew or is related to George Edward Morley, who was born in Pickering on January 31, 1926. He was the only son of John G Morley and Margaret Sollitt. He had five sisters (Doris, Doreen, Joan, Olive and Edith). He served in the Green Howards (No 14750296) in the Second World War until 1946-7.

So far, we have been unable to find out what happened to him after the war. If you think you can help, please contact me at or 28 Rosamund Avenue, Pickering, YO18 7HF.

Geoff Otterburn, secretary of Ryedale Family History Group


Hurdles to opting out of register

SO I recently completed the household enquiry form from Ryedale District Council to update/amend my details on the Electoral Register.

I noticed that the box was ticked by default to show my details on the open register, that is the one that can be sold to marketing companies, etc.

Now, as far as I am aware, I have never been included on the Open Register, there are too many organisations selling our details to companies as it is, so I amended the form to say I didn’t wish to be included. It was signed, and dated, and then returned.

I then received another letter saying that if I wanted to opt out of the open register, I must sign that one as well, (no return envelope) or the changes would not be made.

Was there really any point in sending me the original form to make amendments if those amendments are not going to be made? Shall I now look forward to yet another letter asking me if I’m really, really, really sure I want to opt out?

Dave Beck, Norton


Plenty of options to place the blame

WHY does Linda Cowling keep blaming the Fitzwilliam Estate for the gross waste of our money on what was, from the beginning, a flawed proposal?

Why not blame the planning inspector, who threw out the supermarket proposal hook, line and sinker? Why not blame the High Court Judge who threw out the council’s appeal, who was equally scathing about the council’s performance? Why not blame the chief executive and council solicitor for not reading the inspector’s report? Why not blame council members for their political arrogance in pursuing a scheme that had already been thrown out on appeal?

Come on Linda Cowling, chief executive and Ryedale council, try to live up to your responsibilities. You appear to have presided over impressive incompetence in public office.

Jonathan Allison, Appleton-le-Moors


Getting to the bottom of fracking problems

RYEDALE is one of the many areas across the UK caught in the national debate around the future and security of our energy supplies.

We noticed the advert from Friends of Ryedale Gas Exploration (FORGE) and thought we would offer a response.

The need for electricity and gas to power our homes and businesses is clear – and we all want that supply to be secure. The UK currently imports the majority of its gas from overseas, often from less stable countries in the Middle East or Russia – that means we are open to price fluctuations if events or energy policies in those countries impact supply.

We would therefore agree with the government that Britain needs to be more energy independent. However, unlike the government, we also think that energy should be greener.

We really can’t continue using gas from fossil fuels – we are running out and causing climate change.

Unfortunately, the government is loading the dice for fracking, speeding up the process, rigging the planning system, ripping up trespassing laws and offering the most generous tax regime in the world to promote it. Despite all of this, fracking remains extremely unpopular with the British public, with only one in five people supporting it.

Fracking will continue our reliance on fossil fuels, it is not low-carbon, it will not reduce energy prices and the threats to the local environment are significant, with water pollution, noise pollution and even earthquakes possible. A report by Defra said that fracking could reduce house prices by up to seven per cent.

We believe there is an alternative – one that is good for our energy independence, our economy and our environment. After several years of research and development, we can now make our own Green Gas from grass.

We’ll be submitting our first four projects into planning later this year. Theoretically, there is the potential for 95 per cent of UK domestic and commercial gas needs to be met by making green gas from grass and injecting it straight into the national gas grid – which means we have a big opportunity to live the way we’re used to, but in a sustainable way.

There really is no need at all for fracking.

Stuart Brennan, Ecotricity


Endless cutbacks are totally unnecessary

LIKE ‎the rest of Britain, people in Ryedale are feeling the effects of endless cutbacks under the government’s austerity agenda.

Fire service cuts are the latest example, alongside cuts to bus routes and NHS services.

The People’s Assembly Against Austerity believes that these policies aren’t just dangerous but unnecessary. With next year’s vicious reductions to working tax credit, more and more ordinary people will be paying for the mistakes of bankers. It will be most acutely felt in rural areas, where costs of living are higher.

Everyone who agrees with us is invited to the People’s Assembly’s first ever meeting in Ryedale, which will take place on Monday at 7.30pm, in The Yard, Market Place, Malton.

Graham Martin, The People’s Assembly Against Austerity national council