I am shocked that Mr Hollinrake voted for changes in the law which would have made this peaceful protest against fracking in Ryedale impossible.
People from all walks of life turned out in thousands in Malton in 2015 to demonstrate their opposition to fracking. The effectiveness of this demonstration laid the foundation for the sustained campaign of opposition to fracking in Ryedale which hampered the development of fracking at the Kirby Misperton site and ultimately led to the withdrawal of the developer.
No fracking is now taking place in Ryedale and although the licences still exist Ryedale is safe from fracking for the time being. Demonstrations like this took part around the country and it is primarily because of them that there is currently no fracking anywhere in the UK.
Under Priti Patel’s proposed new law, to go on a demonstration like this would risk a £2,500 fine and/or up to ten years in prison because in being effective it was also both noisy and inconvenient. This threat would have deterred most people and fracking would probably now be ongoing.
The police, crime and sentencing bill is a rag bag of measures. It includes welcome increased protection to emergency service workers and to some at risk groups although it fails to address the issue of violence against women and girls. However, bundling erosion of freedom to protest with uncontroversial protections of individuals is devious and dishonest.
Will Mr Hollinrake change his mind and vote to protect the freedom of his constituents to protest effectively against future threats such as fracking when the bill comes back to the House of Commons?
This letter appeared in https://yorkshirebylines.co.uk/letters-to-the-editor-4/