CAMPAIGNERS have set up an anti-fracking camp in Ryedale after a landmark High Court ruling gave the green light to fracking.

The Kirby Misperton Protection Camp includes local protestors, as well as others from groups across the country.

Eddie Thornton, from Pickering, who is one of the camp’s residents, said he had travelled back from France, where he was working, to join the protest. “I have come back to Ryedale to take a stand against fracking and the fact that our elected representatives are not doing anything about it,” he said.

“We have set up a camp as our base to disrupt Third Energy’s plans to frack at Kirby Misperton. At the moment there are 15 of us from around the country.”

“Everyone in the camp is an accidental activist who is taking a stand against fracking.”

Eddie said the protestors had enjoyed a Christmas dinner at the camp courtesy of local residents.

“The kindness of our neighbours is especially heart-warming at Christmas and makes us feel very supported,” he said.

“We’re already feeling very welcome here. The majority of cars going in and out of Kirby Misperton are tooting their horns in solidarity with the protectors. Its clear fracking has no social license in the area.”

Sue Gough, who organised the meal with other members of the local community, said: “This is a simple way for us to express our gratitude to the protestors and our support for the fantastic job they are doing to defend our community.”

“They are out in the cold and wet weather so we decided to make sure they had Christmas too.”

Sarah Houlston, whose farm is near the well site, added: “Our community has worked so hard to stop this industry getting a toehold in Ryedale. “There were more than 4,000 objections to the planning application, Ryedale District Council and all 15 local parish councils are opposed, the matter even went to the High Court.

“After all that our voices are still being ignored. Local democracy has failed us, and now people are taking the situation into their own hands.”

Insp Simon Jolly, said officers would facilitate peaceful protest by those involved in the camp.

“North Yorkshire Police will continue to liaise with the Kirby Misperton Protection Camp like any other community in North Yorkshire, using a neighbourhood policing approach,” he said. “The police have a duty to facilitate peaceful protest, which is balanced with the rights of residents and businesses to go about their daily life in Kirby Misperton with any possible disruption kept to minimum.

“To be clear, the police are not taking sides regarding this issue. Our presence is intended to provide reassurance and ensure the safety of everyone involved, including those at the camp.” Campaigners also held a demonstration outside Ryedale House in Malton ahead of a planning meeting.