York & North Yorkshire

City of York Council's anti-fracking terrorism links 'ludicrous'

Anti-fracking rally in York
Image caption More than 1,000 people attended an anti-fracking a demonstration in York in July

Anti-fracking campaigners say they are "shocked" to be named on a list of "key risks to York" alongside Islamic terrorists and right-wing activists.

They said their inclusion in City of York Council's anti-radicalisation "Prevent strategy" was "ludicrous".

Frack Free York spokesman Leigh Coghil said there was "absolutely no link" between fracking protests and terror.

The council says it monitors "any activities where there is potential for community tension".

Prevent is the government's counter-radicalisation programme and aims to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism.

According to to council documents: "The Counter Terrorism Local Profile for York and North Yorkshire highlights the key risks to York as evidence of activity relating to Syria, presence of the Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK), Anti Israeli/pro Palestinian activity, Hunt saboteurs, animal rights, anti-fracking and extreme right wing activity."

'Cakes not violence'

Steve Mason from Frack Free Ryedale said the group discovered its inclusion after a similar situation was highlighted in East Yorkshire.

He said: "To my knowledge I know of no violence by anti-fracking protesters.

"We fight fracking with cakes not with violence."

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Media captionThe BBC's David Shukman explains how fracking works

In May, North Yorkshire County Council granted permission to Third Energy to extract shale gas in Kirby Misperton, Ryedale, using the controversial fracking technique.

The following a month an anti-fracking demonstration in York was attended by more than 1,000 people.

Jane Mowat, head of Community Safety at City of York Council, said: "As part of the wider Prevent agenda, all local authorities are required to identify any area of activity or campaigning where extreme actions may be identified as a risk to the wider community or may pose a threat to individuals or organisations covering a wide range of interests.

"Most organised protest groups - including the majority of anti-fracking campaigners - have been peaceful in their right to protest, however, since 2010, local authorities monitor any activities where there is potential for community tension."

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