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GMB Union welcomes 'pragmatic' fracking decision

Union support for fracking in North Yorkshire Credit: GMB

The GMB Union has welcomed North Yorkshire County Council's 'pragmatic' decision to approve a bid from Third Energy to frack for shale gas.

It says shale gas extraction presents a 'significant opportunity' to maintain energy security and promote skilled job creation in the UK.

The council's planning committee has voted in favour of extracting shale gas at an existing two mile deep well near Kirby Misperton in Ryedale. It's the first time in five years that the industry has been given the go-ahead in the UK for the exploration of shale gas.

A viability test will take place on the well, drilled in 2013, and if the site is suitable, consent has been given for shale gas extraction for nine years.

GMB will monitor with interest the viability test on the well in Kirby Misperton North Yorkshire over the coming year. Shale gas extraction presents a significant opportunity to maintain energy security and promote skilled job creation in the UK but all relevant safeguards, consultation and regulation of the industry must be scrutinised to the highest standard by public officials. Anything less than protecting these workers from exploitation in a fledgling industry, as we did with gas workers 126 years ago, would be a betrayal of our history and moral responsibility.

– Stuart Fegan GMB National Officer

University lecturers to stage 48-hour strike in pay row

University lecturers across our region are set to begin a two-day national walkout today in an ongoing row over pay.

Credit: Press Association

The strike has been called by the University and College Union (UCU).

Further industrial action will see staff working to contract from this point, which includes refusing to work overtime, set additional work or undertake voluntary tasks such as covering for colleagues.

The move is likely to cause disruption on campuses around the country.

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Fracking approval is 'huge responsibility' says energy firm

No fracking activity on site for 'some time'

The chief executive of Third Energy, which has been given approval to frack for shale gas in North Yorkshire, says it is not celebrating a victory, but sees it as a 'huge responsibility'.

Rasik Valand also says it will be some time before any activity is seen in the area of Kirby Misperton.

This approval, is not as a victory, but is a huge responsibility. We will have to deliver on our commitment, made to the committee and to the people of Ryedale, to undertake this operation safely and without impacting on the local environment.

However, don’t expect to see any activities on site in the near future. We have conditions from both the planning authority and the Environment Agency to discharge. There are other consents and notifications required prior to receiving final consent from the Secretary of State. Then there is the normal commercial and project management work, such as the letting of contracts and ordering of long lead items.

The purpose of this application is to establish if the gas seen in some samples in this hybrid sandstone shale formation can be made to flow, at what process conditions and for how long. If this flows then we will need to assess how it performs for some months before making any conclusions. So now we move on to the next stage of obtaining required approvals.

– Rasik Valand, Chief Executive of Third Energy
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