Today I met with Policing Minister, Nick Hurd, to hand over a 650 signature petition calling for an end to the presence of anti-fracking protest camps in the area.
The petitioners are concerned about the negative impact fracking protests have had in the area for which I do have some sympathy. It is absolutely proper that people should have the right to protest but residents should also be able to go about their daily business – go to work, take their children to school or attend doctor’s appointments without fear of intimidation.
Although the larger protest camp off Kirby Misperton Road has closed, the petitioners are worried that they will return later in the year if the final go ahead for fracking is given. They want measures in place to prevent a repeat of the disruption that has gone on in recent months.
I also took the opportunity to raise the issue of the cost of policing for what has become a national protest with the Minister again. The additional funding has, so far, cost North Yorkshire Police an extra £700,000 and the Police Commissioner, Julia Mulligan, and I are seeking extra funding to help pay for this.