CAMPAIGNERS against fracking drew a symbolic line in the sand as they demonstrated outside a shale gas seminar in Scarborough today (Monday, April 25).

Several hundred residents of North Yorkshire, along with campaigners from other parts of the North, including Blackpool and Durham, gathered in the seaside resort to oppose a conference on the benefits of onshore oil and gas.

The seminar at Scarborough Spa was hosted by the Onshore Energy Services Group (OESG), a trade association which advances the interests of small and medium-sizes businesses in the fracking supply chain. The event was designed to outline potential opportunities for local businesses in the fracking supply chain and involved talks by senior executives from energy companies already awarded permits for potential fracking in North Yorkshire.

Outside the conference, protestors against fracking drew a symbolic line in the sand and assembled a bamboo fracking rig emblazoned with a 'the size of the prize' banner in reference to the name of one of the conference sessions. A symbolic 'die-in' was enacted on the Spa steps, as protesters lay at the entrance in protest.

Scarborough Borough Councillor Mark Vesey added: “We don’t want anyone coming to Scarborough promoting an industry that threatens our beautiful countryside and so callously puts profit before people and the planet.”

OESG chief executive Lee Petts said the industry could potentially create a wide range of commercial opportunities, from technical work to indirect jobs such as accommodation, transport, site preparation and catering.

He said they wanted to create a sustainable industry through the provision of training and skills development for local youngsters to take up roles in the industry.

Speaking ahead of the conference, Mr Petts said the conference was designed to bring together operators and potential suppliers to “help ensure that North Yorkshire businesses are best placed to capitalise on the chances that lie ahead”.