THE cost of policing protests at the region’s first fracking site has gone over the £500,000 mark.
Anti-fracking campaigners have been staging protests outside Third Energy’s site in Kirby Misperton, near Malton, since the company first won approval. But protests stepped up after preparatory work began in mid September.
The cost of policing including overtime, mutual aid, equipment, subsistence and travel-related costs was £147,881 in November. It brings the total to date to £563,299.
North Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Julia Mulligan, said she was keeping “a close eye” on the bill. She has already written to the Government in anticipation of costs exceeding one per cent of the budget or £1.4m, after which the force can apply for financial help.
Ms Mulligan said she was keen “policing more widely carries on as usual” especially over Christmas and wanted to hear from anyone about “any potential impact on members of the public.”
However protestor Frank Colenso said the policing of the site had itself been disproportionate and the police had only themselves to blame.
“On one day I counted 90 police at the gates when there were 25 people standing there, the majority, senior citizens, wishing to carry out law-abiding peaceful protest. No wonder the bill is over £500,000.
“We disagree with the level of policing. They haven’t engaged with the public as they claim to do. They have got themselves to blame for the £500,000.”
There were eight arrests connected to protests in November, compared to 40 the previous month.