Protestors against fracking caused a stir in Bentham recently when they staged a fake survey event to draw attention to the issue.

Wenningdale Climate Action Network (WeCAN) carried out their own ‘fracking survey’ in Bentham Main Street on a busy Saturday morning.

Their protest comes as North Yorkshire County Council has published its own new environmental measures intended to guide future minerals and waste planning applications for developments such as fracking.

The team of five surveyors in Bentham was equipped with an array of high-tech looking measuring equipment, and spent an hour taking over a dozen readings from various carefully selected monitoring points.

A number of shoppers stopped to ask what was going on, and according to protestors, were genuinely alarmed that fracking could be coming to Bentham.

The event was one of hundreds of events throughout the UK during the Speak Up Week of Action, co-ordinated by the Climate Coalition to raise awareness of the urgent need to fight climate change.

The protestors say fracking is about to take off in England.

WeCAN member Richard Wilson said: “Our message to concerned Bentham shoppers was that shale gas should be left in the ground.

"Fracking and burning gas will just speed up global warming. The money being invested in it could be spent on clean, renewable energy, instead of a new fossil fuel extracted by a process that has created environmental havoc in the USA. If real frackers do come to Bentham, their seismic tests will be carried out in quiet rural corners from unmarked vans - not on Main Street in high-vis gear!"

The County Council last week agreed to publish a draft plan that includes robust protection measures for residents and the environment to guide future minerals and waste planning applications for developments such as fracking.

The draft plan adopts a raft of measures which include an extended buffer zone to protect residential locations as well as environmentally important places such as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, nature conservation areas and important historic sites.

Once given final approval next year, it will become the key reference for all planning decisions for development for the next 15 years.

This will include development such as new or extended quarries and new waste management facilities such as recycling and treatment centres. It will also include hydraulic fracturing for shale gas (fracking).