POLICE in North Yorkshire will soon appeal to the Government for money to cover policing of fracking protests.

Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire Julia Mulligan said the operation at a fracking site in Kirby Misperton - which has so far cost the taxpayer more than £620,000 in overtime, travel, expenses and assistance from other forces, not including daily wages - was “one of North Yorkshire Police’s most resource-intensive operations”.

The Government has pledged to support police forces who spend one per cent of their budget on policing fracking protests - about £1.4 million for North Yorkshire Police - and Mrs Mulligan said she expected to be asking for funds soon.

She said: “Although we have the necessary contingencies and budgets in place to deal with events such as this in the short term, I will soon be making an application to government to recover as much of our costs as possible.

"While I disagree with hydraulic fracturing companies paying for policing directly - because it would create a conflict of interest - I do believe that as part of the process for issuing permits, there should be a mandatory financial contribution by those wishing to frack to pay for policing.

“If this central ‘pot’ were to be managed by government, it would avoid a conflict of interest and indirectly pay for local policing operations. I shall be asking the Minister to consider this proposal.”

This weekend, Thirsk and Malton MP Kevin Hollinrake said the Government should consider lowering the threshold, and he had contacted policing minister Nick Hurd to discuss the matter.

Mr Hollinrake said: “Clearly these costs are mounting - around £600,000 - and are being borne by the North Yorkshire taxpayer whereas many of the people protesting against this are clearly not local and much of the protest movement against shale gas is national."

“Fracking itself is something of national interest, not just to Thirsk and Malton, so I believe it’s unfair the North Yorkshire taxpayer carries the whole cost of it. I think these are exceptional circumstances.

"Almost the entirety of the anti-fracking movement is focused in Kirby Misperton, therefore it can’t be right that even the initial costs of policing are borne by local residents.”

Mrs Mulligan said: “Any move to relax the current thresholds and allow full cost recovery would be most welcome”, but the suggestion from some that fracking companies should pay for policing at the sites was not necessarily appropriate.