A GROUP of 32 land and business owners have joined forces to fight against fracking.

Nicholas Howard, Jake Duncombe, Lord Middleton, Lady Clarissa Collin and former television presenter Selina Scott are among those who have written a letter rejecting the fracking industry and claiming they would be left with the liability if something were to go wrong in the future.

In a letter they say: “We would like to place on public record our opposition to fracking not just in Yorkshire, but everywhere.

“We do not accept the argument that fracked gas is needed for national energy security. We are not persuaded of the need for fracked gas as a source of cheap energy nor as a bridge fuel from coal. We support the growth in renewables and efforts to improve energy efficiency.”

The letter is aimed at gas company Ineos, which is currently in discussions to undertake seismic testing at sites across the district to check for the abundance of gas in deep shale rock.

The authors of the letter raise concerns about the plastics crisis, and say that gas extracted from Ryedale would be used to manufacture plastics by Ineos.

The letter also says that the long-term legacy costs of anything going wrong would fall on the landowner.

It says: “Landowners have already been offered licence agreements, with proposed schedules of payments, to allow seismic tests to be carried out on our land.

“This is a likely precursor to the siting of well pads for fracking.

“But you may be surprised to read that after the fracking company has gone (and the licence expired), the landowner is left with the residual liability for any well.”

But an Ineos spokesman said that the industry will bring jobs and investment to the area.

“The key message here is that if shale gas proves to be successful in the UK,” they said, “it will become a vital piece of the nation’s infrastructure, and will provide the UK with highly competitive energy, meaning we will be less dependent on foreign supplies.

“It will also generate enormous levels of investment and jobs in the North of England where they are desperately needed, and will also help the UK to meet its climate change commitments.”

“Manufacturing jobs are not created without investment and there is precious little investment in the North of England in manufacturing.

“Recent figures on jobs and investment estimate that the shale industry is expected to bring in £33 billion of investment into England alone over the next two decades.

“The resources beneath our feet can be used to create jobs, heat our homes, go a long way towards self-sufficiency and improve our balance of payments and the environment all at the same time.”