A REPORT of the Government’s Air Quality Expert Group was given to ministers in 2015 but not published for three years – and then it quietly appeared on the library page of the air quality website.

This was no oversight, as the report was released four days after ministers approved fracking in Lancashire.

The report estimated that even a small number of fracking wells would increase national emissions of pollution, with nitrogen dioxides rising up to four per cent and volatile organic compounds up to three per cent.

However, it says: “Impacts on local and regional air quality have the potential to be substantially higher than the national level impacts, as extraction activities are likely to be highly clustered.”

In addition to the methane released by the fracking process is the air (and noise) pollution caused by diesel generators and the thousands of truck journeys needed to transport toxic fracking fluid.

Much hot air comes from the Government about phasing out diesel cars in cities, but it seems to regard polluting our countryside as acceptable.

The Thirsk & Malton MP Kevin Hollinrake has always maintained that environmental quality would be safeguarded, but the scientific evidence of this expert group shows that view to be complacent. We cannot trust a Government that plays dirty tricks to deceive us.

With Mr Hollinrake’s assistance, Ryedale may become the second Northern community to be deliberately polluted by fracking.

Dr Peter Williams, Malton