IN response to last week’s letter by Graham Marshall. I am the man in the red coat who has stood outside the camp for the past five days in all weathers. I would like him to know I am not “a professional activist from London”.

I live 12 miles from the proposed site and have lived and worked in the area for some 23 years and am proud to say I am a Yorkshire man.

I have been amazed at the support the camp has had from near and far. These good people have lent their support to a major cause that will sweep across this wonderful county.

I have lived and worked in Lancashire, Cheshire and Wales, all these areas are under threat from fracking. The protest is about protecting every aspect our lives. Tourism will be affected if fracking is allowed to go ahead. Who would want to come to an area where the quiet country roads would be clogged with lorries carrying polluted water?

I wonder if Mr Marshall has bothered to take the time from his holiday home business in Rosedale to actually visit the protest site and talk to people. I can assure him that he would be made most welcome, there is a warm fire to sit by and a welcome cup of hot Yorkshire Tea.

And if there is a need, a toilet that is a higher standard of cleanliness than any campsite I have visited.

If this is what it takes to call myself a professional activist I only wish I could have put it on my CV. Alas, too late, I am retired. Back to standing with my banner. Please come along and support us.

Paul George, Oswaldkirk

Why does it stop?

WITH regard to Dr Graham Marshall’s letter in last week’s Gazette. Does he seriously think that if fracking goes ahead it will stop with that one discreet site?

It cannot be emphasised enough that this site has not yet been used for fracking.

Fracking is a totally different procedure, requiring much more infrastructure and there will be hundreds of these wells, with pipes built across the countryside connecting them.

The “protectors” care deeply about protecting, not only this area, but the whole country. Many of the people at the camp are from this area, and even if they weren’t, we should be grateful that some people are prepared to stand up and fight for something they truly believe in and don’t just roll over and say “oh well what can we do?”.

Some peaceful protesters in a small field, doing no damage, are nothing to what will happen if fracking goes ahead, and it all starts with one well.

Anne Stewart, Helmsley

Truth will prevail

HAVE you noticed how opponents of shale gas and fracking demand that the industry behaves transparently and in compliance with all known rules, but the same standards don’t apply to them and their actions?

Numerous complaints have been made to the ASA about claims against fracking circulated by opposition groups; in every single case, rather than defend their claims, they avoid the spotlight of damaging publicity by agreeing not to repeat them.

Consider what a fracking company must do in order to explore for gas – once it has identified what it thinks is a suitable location, it has to agree access rights with the landowner before it can begin operations – anti-fracking activists, as we’ve seen this last week, simply turn up and take any field they like to host their protest camps.

A fracking company must obtain planning permission to build any structures on site, with planning officers and councillors scrutinising plans and imposing conditions – campaigners, on the other hand, build unsightly camps and towers with no regard for the blot they create on the local landscape.

If a resident makes a complaint to a fracking company, it and the relevant authorities have to act responsibly, investigate and resolve – activists at the Kirby Misperton Camp simply dismiss residents’ concerns as trivial, saying “it’s not about you”.

The double standards are astonishing, and used to great effect by fracking opponents in trying to persuade the public to their cause. Truth and facts will prevail when Third Energy commence operations and little difference is seen from previous oil and gas activity over the decades.

David Pasley, Pickering

It doesn’t add up

LAST week’s anti-fracking protester letter does not add up. What ever happens when fracking does start, it will affect tourists coming here. The longer the protesters stay the longer the delay to fracking will be, so the tourists will keep on coming hopefully.

Jarvis Browning, Fadmoor

Peaceful protest

IT was so enlightening to discover that Dr Graham Marshall (Letters, January 4) has a LinkedIn profile that describes his work in the oil and gas industry in Perth, Australia.

I would suggest that he at least update his profile before trying to counteract the 4,000 residents who objected to the fracking application in Kirby Misperton.

Perhaps he could condescend to visit the extremely friendly local protection camp that welcomes locals and visitors alike, and perhaps use his extensive experience in his industry to advise campers on how to avoid constructing visually intrusive high structures, and avoid polluting air and water, avoid producing millions of toxic waste water that is untreatable, and avoid bringing thousands of trucks on site.

Perhaps he could tell us why if the Australian people so loved fracking so much it is now banned in Victoria state and suspended in Northern Territory.

Many of us are determined to follow in the tradition of Gandhi and Martin Luther King in peaceful civil disobedience and non-violent direct action when government repeatedly continues to be deaf to our concerns and lays out the red carpet to this toxic process that is also being banned or under moratorium in Wales, Scotland, Ireland, France, New York State and many more areas.

Ian Conlan, Malton

Conflicting opinions

A QUICK click on Google reveals that Dr Marshall, who wrote in last week’s Gazette as a holiday cottage owner critical of the protection camp at Kirby Misperton, is a professional oil man who has lived in Perth, Western Australia, for many years. He may have a holiday cottage or two around here, but his career has been elsewhere.

Like many people from outside Ryedale he has opinions about the plans to frack our countryside, but it would be more straightforward to admit that his opinions have less to do with Ryedale tourism than with the interests of the industry that employs him.

Rosalind Field, Gilling East

Fearful for our future

REGARDING the letter from Dr Marshall, we would make the following comments. He continually refers to the professional protester from London. We are supporters of Frack Free Ryedale and most of the people involved, unlike Dr Marshall, our MP and members of the county council planning committee, are local residents.

The only professionals we are aware of are those lobbying the Government to accept fracking against the wishes of our local councils, more than 4,000 people who objected to the planning application and over 13,000 who in the 2015 local elections voted for candidates standing on an anti-fracking ticket.

There are people from outside the area who are campaigning as fracking is a national issue with about 60 per cent of the country reported as having potential for fracking. Ryedale is the guinea pig area and this has opened the floodgates for fracking countrywide, so it is no surprise that the issue here has attracted interest and concern in other areas.

He also states that we have lived alongside the gas industry for 30 years without problems. This is a statement continually made by Third Energy and its supporters, but not once have they qualified this by stating that this has been by conventional gas extraction and not by fracking.

As for the anti-fracking campaign damaging tourism, one of our main arguments is that on a commercial scale fracking will involve a large number of wells, spoiling the countryside which with the associated big increase in HGV movements will be potentially disastrous for tourism.

His letter is an insult to the many local people who fear for the future of Ryedale’s tourism and rural economy.

Phil and Chris Rowland, Pickering

Threat to tourism

DR Graham Marshall says that the presence of anti-fracking protesters will harm tourism in Ryedale; but what of the harm caused by fracking itself?

It couldn’t be more obvious that fracking will cause far more sustained damage to Ryedale tourism than the presence of a few protesters.

Dr Peter Williams, Malton

Try to visit protesters

DR Graham Marshall makes many assumptions in his letter about the protection camp near Kirby Misperton.

Our assumption is that he has not visited the camp. We have, on two occasions and found the people there very pleasant and caring and they have absolutely no wish to put fear into local residents or tourists. I would urge anyone to visit them and share a cup of tea with the people there.

Dr Marshall says that they are from London. Not so. Some people are very local, most others are from the north. These are the areas which is threatened by fracking companies.

Dr Marshall says that the camp is a threat to tourism. The threat to tourism, also agriculture comes from fracking. A protection camp is transitory and land will be restored to its original state. Land once fracked, it is fracked forever.

Sue Cuthbert, Newton-upon-Rawcliffe

Study the Code

RE: New-look junction. Please do not blame our planners for the fundamental changes at the Norton junction.

Give way to “traffic from the right” was established after joining the European Union to give a more standard procedure of road junction signage. Approaching the railway crossing from the Malton side, traffic always had priority over the Church Street junction in order to clear the hatched lines area, and quite rightly so. Does any motorist relish being hit by a train? The countless times I have almost been “T-boned” asserting my “highway right priority” beggars belief.

For all those Euro moaners, time to study your Highway Code folks. Definition of woe, hold your horses.

Ray Wilkinson, Bulmer