THE latest costs for policing the continuing anti-fracking protests in North Yorkshire have been published - and they are the lowest yet.

The figures released by the county's police and crime commissioner Julia Mulligan show the protests at Kirby Misperton, where the company Third Energy is planning to start fracking, cost the force £48,101 in January - a 17 per cent drop on the previous month.

However the total costs since the demonstrations began last summer have now reached almost £670,000 - £233,704 of which was in last October alone - some of which Mrs Mulligan is hoping to recover from the Government.

The figures include overtime, mutual aid, equipment, subsistence, travel-related costs and the like.

They do not include the cost of those officers that are assigned to policing the site on a day-to-day basis.

Mrs Mulligan said: “Costs were down again in January, which is to be expected while Third Energy’s activity has been put on hold.

“I will continue to keep a close eye on this operation and the cost to the North Yorkshire taxpayer, and will soon be making an application to Government to recover as much of our costs as possible.

"Of course, any move to relax the current thresholds and allow full cost recovery would be most welcome.”

On many days in January, the majority of police officers due to attend Kirby Misperton were redeployed to policing duties elsewhere.

Superintendent Alisdair Dey said: “We always respond proportionately to any protest activity, so when it’s peaceful and safe, we can reduce the number of officers at Kirby Misperton, and redeploy them to policing duties elsewhere in North Yorkshire.

“On many days in January, the only officers present at the site were a few police liaison officers, whose role it is to engage with the protest community.

"They were also redeployed back to their areas when there was no protest activity.”

As part of a commitment to openness and transparency, Mrs Mulligan has promised to publish the additional cost of policing the site in Ryedale, every month, as soon as the figures are available.

As well as a permanent "protection" camp at the site the protestors have carried out a series of slow-walk protests in front of lorries leaving and entering the site and a number of arrests have been made.

So far the additional costs of the policing operation have amounted to:

• £80,238 up to August 31

• £101,476 in September

• £233,704 in October

• £147,881 in November

• £58,488 in December

• £48,101 in January