THE top tourist attraction in Ryedale has described the possible creation of numerous fracking sites near its base as "a massive concern".

The owners of Flamingo Land, a family-run theme park and zoo near Pickering, North Yorkshire, said they feared visitors could be put off if Third Energy's gas production scheme yards from the resort at Kirby Misperton led to a series of other hydraulic fracturing operations being passed in the area.

In a letter to North Yorkshire County Council ahead of the proposal being decided, the resort, which receives more than 1.5 million visitors annually - more than the combined total of the next two most visited sites in the region, York and Durham cathedrals - said it believed fracking sites could aggravate traffic congestion in the area.

In a departure from the opposition to Third Energy's scheme expressed by a multitude of tourism-related businesses in Ryedale, a Flamingo Land spokesman said it was supportive of any initiatives which result in job creation, especially local employment.

He said following meetings with the energy firm and residents to get a feel for the arguments on both sides, the resorts' owners had concluded the anti-fracking campaign was "lacking in tangible evidence" and "most of the provided information is subjective and emotional".

Third Energy stated last week it had not developed plans for further fracking operations in the area, but it is understood other energy firms are closely following the Kirby Misperton scheme.

Following a number of drilling licences being issued for possible hydraulic fracturing schemes in the area, and numerous others expected to be granted, the resort said it wanted to register its opposition to a wave of fracking sites being granted.

He said: "Multiple fracking sites within Ryedale would be of a massive concern to Flamingo Land. This would change our visitors perception of what a visit to Ryedale represents and would exacerbate existing traffic problems on local roads."

Chris Redston of Frack Free Ryedale said it remained clear that the vast majority of people in Ryedale were overwhelmingly against fracking.

He said: "There have already been over 4,000 objections to the planning application against only a dozen in favour, all five town councils and Ryedale District Council have passed anti-fracking motions, and now Yorkshire's biggest tourist attraction is expressing massive concern about Third Energy's long-term plans.

"If this was any other planning application other than fracking, it would already be dead in the water."