TO a large extent it does not matter whether fracking can be done “safely”. A bag of doughnuts can be cooked safely - but that does not turn them into a healthy snack. Even when the jam is organic.

This planet is ill. Her beauty is blemished and her health is failing. What we need is the equivalent of a low-calorie energy policy. A healthy option for the planet to recover its strength.

Our atmosphere is choking and the seas are filled with plastic. Just as the overweight must reduce their dependency on sugar, so as a nation we must reduce our dependency on burning hydrocarbons.

Fracking is the equivalent of a new sugary drink. It is not a healthy option. In fact it is a decidedly unhealthy option.

Fracking requires the improper use of open countryside and its product will do nothing to improve air quality.

The extraction of shale gas within our shores is a business opportunity for an industry which has no more interest in reducing our dependency on its product than a drug dealer has in seeing his customers go clean.

Thank goodness for the hardy souls at the Kirby Misperton Protection Camp who are drawing attention to this madness.

Philip Tate, Butterwick

Call for truth

RECENT analysis, published on February 21 in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, and reported on the BBC, revealed an astonishingly high number of chemical spills related to fracking in the US.

The report highlighted 6,648 spills in just four states alone - Colorado, New Mexico, North Dakota and Pennsylvania.

The researchers determined that up to 16 per cent of fracked oil and gas wells spill hydrocarbons, fracking fluids and other potentially harmful substances.

The largest spill recorded involved 100,000 litres of fluid.

We know that in this country Third Energy want to frack up to 950 wells, something that was stated openly by Third’s operations director John Dewer in the Houses of Parliament, and another fracking firm INEOS want to drill just as many wells all across the North of England.

Now imagine if 16 per cent of Third Energy’s 950 wells spill their fracking fluid - the result could be disastrous for Yorkshire.

It’s about time Third Energy, INEOS and the army of PR firms they employ start to be truthful about the true risks associated with the fracking industry, rather than trying to persuade us that our massively underfunded and inexperienced regulators can control this highly risky and dangerous fracking industry.

It’s about time fracking was banned in this country, once and for all.

Russell Scott, Ryedale and London

War memories

LAST month you featured William Spooner as your Remembrance profile.

My great grandfather was Alfred Boyes, owner of first taxi service in Malton, brother of William and here is a bit more information for you.

William Boyes was born in April, 1883, in Broughton (near Malton), Yorkshire, his father, William, was 33 and his mother, Maria, was 27. He had three brothers and two sisters. He died on February 8, 1917, at the age of 31, and was buried in Thiepval, Somme, France.

His brother Private Ernest Walter 14751 (Yorkshire Hussars Alexandra, Princes of Wales’ Own 10th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment) died on September 26, 1915, aged 21, and is buried in Loos-en-Gohelle, Calais, France.

His brother John Henry Boyes 11/1001 served in the 11th Battalion East Yorkshire Regiment. He was 36 years old when he died September 2, 1916, in France.

Jane Cass, Norton

Paintings plea

SOME decades ago, my wife and I inherited several scenic watercolour paintings signed by “S J Piercy”, some of which we later had framed and were hung in our hallway.

Having recently renovated or flat we have decided not to hang these paintings back up and would like to sell them, should they be of any value. Research on the internet has not shed any light on the painter S J Piercy, who we have always assumed to be a female as the family referred to a “Miss Piercy”.

As this painter is most likely a local person, in or around York and Ryedale, we are hoping that some of your readers might recognise this name and help us find a home for the paintings.

Simon Crozier, Leimen, Germany