A COUNCIL is investigating complaints about the number of visitors to an anti-fracking camp.
Kirkby Misperton Protection Camp has been in place since the judicial review into North Yorkshire County Council’s decision to allow shale gas extraction in Ryedale was lost just before Christmas.
The camp is situated between the A169 and Third Energy’s site near the village and contains roughly a dozen permanent protestors, with a daily stream of visitors to the site, most of whom are local residents.
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Ryedale District councillors were given an update on the camp at their planning meeting in January, when the authority’s head of planning, Gary Housden, told the committee the site would be monitored.
Mr Housden said the council had not received any complaints for some time after the camp was established. But in the past few weeks the council had received about 12 complaints, mainly about the number of visitors to the site and parking on the roadside outside the camp.
He said the planning department was gathering information and if there was a decision to be made on the camp, it would be made by the councillors at a planning committee meeting sometime in the future.
Protesters at the camp have said 12 complaints was relatively minor compared to the 3,236 who submitted formal objections to North Yorkshire County Council over plans for fracking in Ryedale, but said they were trying to address the parking issues.
Eddie Thornton, one of the protesters, said during the wet weather they had asked visitors to park on the verge outside the camp to avoid damage to the field, after police told them cars could park on the roadside.
But they have been looking for donations of road panels that would allow parking within the site.
Eddie Thornton, one of the protestors, said: “The parking is something that we are trying to deal with. But in wet weather, people have to park by the road.”
He added: “I think this is one thing that people are trying to target us with,” he said. “We see this as an orchestrated campaign by pro-fracking groups. If they have 12 complaints, compare that against the levels of support we have.”
The camp is situated on the road that trucks will use to enter Third Energy’s drill site.
Those at the camp say more protesters will join them when work begins at the site, including a significant number of older protesters, “geri-activists”, who will try and hinder the trucks’ progress.
After the camp was established, North Yorkshire police said it would use a “neighbourhood policing approach” in relation to the camp.
It stated: “The police have a duty to facilitate peaceful protest, which is balanced with the rights of residents and businesses to go about their daily life in Kirby Misperton with any possible disruption kept to minimum.”