BUFFER zones should be created around fracking sites and gas wells to stop rural North Yorkshire becoming an industrialised landscape, says a York Green councillor.

Cllr Lars Kramm has started a petition calling for buffer zones of between one and six miles to be enshrined in policies being drawn up by North Yorkshire, York, and North York Moors authorities.

His petition asks for one-mile buffer zones between extraction sites - including fracking and conventional gas drills - and home, schools or hospitals.

He also wants three-mile buffer zones around important natural sites like National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Sites of Special Scientific Interest, and World Heritage Sites; and a minimum of six miles between individual drilling sites to stop a proliferation of drills in a small area.

Cllr Kramm said: "This petition is not focused on any of the disputed facts, like whether the liquid created by fracking is toxic. It's focused on the industrialisation of the countryside because North Yorkshire is a very rural setting and we have to realise that gas drilling is a heavy industrial process with a lot of machinery, fumes and traffic."

He added: "If you show someone a picture of a gas drilling site and ask if they would want to live within one mile of it, they would automatically say no."

The Joint Minerals and Waste Plan (JMWP) applies to the City of York, North Yorkshire, and the North York Moors National Park. Cllr Kramm said he brought up the issue of buffer zones when the JMWP was out to public consultation, and again when it was discussed by CYC's Executive committee, and has started the petition in a bid to influence decision makers before the policy is finalised.

Cllr Kramm added: "The JMWP is the only power we have left [over gas drilling] locally. Other than this, central government has taken all power away.

"We want to raise awareness that this drilling is going to happen. A lot of people do not know that everywhere in York except Copmanthorpe, Wheldrake and Fulford is covered by extraction licences."

The petition is online at you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/buffer-zones-for-gas-drilling-sites-in-york-and-north-yorkshire.