FRACK FREE UNITED is a network of residents’ and campaign groups whose aim is to protect our countryside from the threat of fracking. Their first mission is to put fracking on the agenda at the 14 County Council elections that are taking place across the UK on May 4th this year – and this includes the upcoming elections at North Yorkshire County Council. You can read a report on the group’s launch in the Gazette and Herald.

Frack Free United are working with all political parties to build a progressive alliance to fight the threat of fracking to our communities, our rural tourism, our health, or countryside and the climate. It is clear that the government’s support for the oil and gas industry has made it extremely difficult for local communities and councils to say no to fracking.

Local Ryedale residents at Kirby Misperton protesting about the decision to frack there.

For example, over 99.2% of people who responded to the NYCC consultation on fracking at Kirby Misperton opposed the plan – a total of 4,375 objections to only 36 letters in favour. The plan was also opposed by Flamingo Land (which is only 1 km from the well-site), Ryedale District Council, all Parish Councils near the well-site, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and numerous other local businesses. This almost universal opposition counted for nothing during the planning hearing, which voted 7-4 in favour of the plan to frack only 400m from the village of Kirby Misperton. After the decision, the chairman of the Committee, Peter Sowray, said that local opposition was ‘not a material consideration’. Call that local democracy? We call it a stitch-up. And now there’s an opportunity to change the game.

It is clear that we need more County Councillors in North Yorkshire and across the country to stand up for their communities and oppose fracking. To help achieve this, Frack Free United are asking candidates in the upcoming council elections to publicly oppose fracking by signing the following Fracking Pledge: If my Council area constituency, division or ward is at risk of fracking, I will actively oppose it and I will oppose fracking nationally.”

You can find out more about Frack Free United’s mission by visiting their website or Facebook page. For further information, maps and candidates in your area, please click here.

Frack Free United are also looking for volunteers to help with campaigning during the run-up to the elections, so if you would like to get involved with Frack Free United’s important work, please click here.

And if you would like to contribute to their campaign, please go to their GoFundMe page.

As for the upcoming elections here in North Yorkshire, Frack Free Ryedale will not be advising people which candidates to vote for. We do, however, ask that you consider your candidates’ views on fracking when making your decision. If candidates in your area have not signed the Fracking Pledge, why not contact them directly to ask for their views on fracking – and to sign the fracking pledge? To see the official list of candidates for the North Yorkshire County Council elections, either by division or by party, please click here.

And of course, don’t forget to vote on May 4th!