ALMOST a quarter of Liberal Democrat and Labour candidates have pledged to oppose fracking in their constituencies, going against their party line.

A rally was held at the weekend in Malton by Frack Free Ryedale to show candidates in the region how many people were opposed to the gas extraction method.

Four of the seven candidates standing for the Thirsk and Malton seat have signed the Frack Free Promise, including Labour’s Alan Avery, Green Chris Newsam, Lib Dem Di Keal, and independent John Clark.

Julian Sturdy, who is running again for the York Outer parliamentary seat, said: “I am proud to have spent the last five years fighting to protect our countryside from overdevelopment by the council.

“Whilst a tightly regulated fracking industry might be right for some parts of the country, it should only ever be allowed to proceed with the right safeguards in place and with the full support of the surrounding community.

“People can be sure that I will continue to champion the rights of local residents over the interests of large developers.”

The Press was yesterday unable to contact his Liberal Democrat opponent, James Blanchard.

A survey by Greenpeace found last week that 17 per cent of voters in Yorkshire and the Humber would be much less likely to vote for a pro-fracking candidate, with four per cent saying they would be much more likely to do so.

Sam Pearse, Greenpeace UK climate and energy campaigner, said: “Fracking is proving such a huge turn-off for voters that even shale enthusiasts have gone strangely quiet on their favourite topic. Policies that play well with London-based lobbyists looking to profit from fracking have a lot less appeal to constituents who will see the damage face-to-face.

“By making the frack-free promise, politicians can do something that is in their own interests, as well as the interests of their constituents, their country and the planet. They can ditch a fracking industry that will leave us more dependent on dangerous and volatile fossil fuels, and back instead the technologies already providing safe, clean and increasingly cheaper energy.”