The Frack Free Business Group includes companies that rely on tourism, as well as farmers, retailers and builders.
The group is campaigning against plans by Third Energy to frack an existing well at Kirby Misperton.
Paul O’Hanlon, manager of the Black Swan Hotel in Helmsley and a founder of the Frack Free Business Group, said: “We rely on tourism for our business, which in turn supports the local economy.”
“We also cater for seasonal shooting parties and are concerned what effect fracking would have on our countryside, and wonder whether people would still want to visit Ryedale.”
Anne Barnes, who runs a bakery in Helmsley, said: “As a business owner in Helmsley and a farmer, I am extremely concerned the impact fracking will have on my livelihood.”
“I also worry what the future holds for my grandchildren from the effects of fracking on the environment.”
Local businessman, Darren Allanson, who helped form the group, said, “Once I started looking into fracking, it became apparent to me that Ryedale simply could not accommodate such an industry, given how many businesses rely on the tourism sector. Even if we just look at the huge increase traffic if Ryedale became the centre of the UK fracking industry, how would that affect our road network?”
The local Ryedale newspaper, the Gazette and Herald, found one opponent of the group. Lorraine Allanson, from Friends of Ryedale Gas Exploration (FORGE), which supports fracking, said: “It is premature for businesses to take a negative stance to the gas exploration industry before knowing the real facts about fracking in the UK and Third Energy’s future plans.
Egdon’s drilling planned welcomed
About 50 miles further north, an organisation representing the chemical industry, welcomed reports that Egdon Resources was considering drilling an exploratory gas well at Kirkleatham south of Middlesbrough.
The North East Processing Industry Cluster told Gazette Live: “Home grown raw materials are important to our economy and energy security and much preferable to buying Russian gas or French electricity.”
The NEPIC’s chief executive, Stan Higgins, said:
“Look what has happened in the US where its shale gas industry has resulted in major international companies relocating to America, because of its cheaper fuel. If we have these raw materials, then industry will follow and it will create more jobs.”