A GREEN Party leader was at fracking protests in Ryedale today (Tuesday, October 3) as a ban on fracking was announced in Scotland.

Green party co-leader Jonathan Bartley told people gathered at the gates of Third Energy’s well site outside Kirby Misperton that he was there to support the local community.

“Here today, it’s clear there’s a real momentum growing against fracking.

“You have to look at the people here; local farmers and people who don’t want this happening. They’re worried about their future and worried about keeping their fossil fuels in the ground with climate change.”

He described the site as the “front line of the fight against fracking”, adding: “Whether these other licences that have been issued for fracking come to fruition will depend very much on what happens at Kirby Misperton and Preston.”

His visit coincided with the Scottish Government announcing a ban on fracking. A spokesperson for Third Energy said it was important domestic gas resources were developed, and added that they had invited Mr Bartley to their Knapton Generating Station to “learn about our actual operations, undertaken for more than 20 years with no adverse impact on communities or the environment".

Today it also emerged that the firefighters union had hit out at its members being sent to the site. In a message sent to the protection camp, FBU secretary Steve Howley said he was “disgusted and disappointed” that firefighters had been put in that position.

He also said he had assurances from the Assistant Chief Fire Officer that he would be speaking to North Yorkshire Police to suggest the fire service could not be used in such a way again.

The row arose after firefighters were sent to Kirby Misperton on Monday evening, and an aerial ladder platform was used to remove a protestor on unsafe scaffolding.

Both the police and fire service issued statements saying they were “impartial” in the fracking debate. A fire service spokesman said they would only attend incidents at the site if there is a risk to life or public safety, not to help with law enforcement elements - a position that has not changed since Monday.