Fracking given go-ahead in North Yorkshire

An application to frack for shale gas at a site in Kirby Misperton has been approved by North Yorkshire County Council.

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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

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

Police praise North Yorkshire fracking protestors

North Yorkshire Police has praised those who took part in protests for the "fracking" planning application decision in Northallerton.

Credit: Press Association

The two-day meeting, which concluded today (Monday 23 May 2016), saw hundreds of people gather to air their views outside County Hall, North Yorkshire County Council.

Police say the atmosphere largely remained good natured while they and North Yorkshire County Council facilitated lawful protest. No arrests were made.

Superintendent Dave Hannan, Head of Specialist Operations at North Yorkshire Police, said: "This issue has generated a great deal of feeling in the local community and beyond. It also has potential to boil over into public disorder and unlawful behaviour.

"North Yorkshire Police worked closely with North Yorkshire County Council and liaised with representatives from all sides of this issue to mitigate this concern, whilst fulfilling our duty to facilitate lawful protest.

"I sincerely thank the protestors for their co-operation throughout the planning meeting and for respecting the local community by keeping disruption to a minimum. Positive feedback from the groups involved demonstrated that the neutral role of the police in these often challenging situations was understood and appreciated by the majority of those in attendance."

– Superintendent Dave Hannan
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Greenpeace: Fracking fight not over

A protester outside County Hall, Northallerton Credit: John Giles / PA Wire

Greenpeace has criticised the decision by North Yorkshire council to allow Third Energy to frack for shale gas in the near the village of Kirby Misperton.

Daisy Sands, Greenpeace's head of energy campaign said: "Given the pro-fracking bias from central government, there was an air of inevitability about this bitterly disappointing decision."

"It is striking that the overwhelming number of speakers giving evidence at the two-day hearing were against fracking and Ryedale Parish Council voted against fracking at its back door, but North Yorks Council has overlooked this and the many, many concerns that were raised locally."

"But this isn't over and people will continue to raise their very valid concerns and keep fighting against fracking because it will industrialise the beautiful Yorkshire countryside and contribute to climate change," she added.


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North Yorkshire ruling 'a difficult decision'

North Yorkshire councillors voted 7-4 in favour of fracking

North Yorkshire council's chief executive Richard Flinton has said the decision to allow Third Energy to frack in Kirby Misperton was "very difficult" but won't have a bearing on future applications.

Mr Flinton said: "This has been a very difficult decision for the council to make and we know it is a difficult decision for the people of this county."

"We are proud of our beautiful county which attracts so many visitors and maintains a thriving tourism industry. We have no intention of jeopardising those qualities and our rural industries and livelihoods."

"In this case there has already been drilling for gas on this site over many years. The decision taken today does not have a bearing on future decisions. Each application of this nature will be decided upon based on its own merits," he added.

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Fracking verdict a 'much-needed victory for pragmatism'

The Acting Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce has said the fracking verdict in North Yorkshire is a "much-needed victory for in the face of the serious energy security problems Britain faces".

He said: "Businesses will want to see speedy development of this and other shale gas sites, together with maximum environmental and community consideration, not endless appeals."

"Fracking has the potential to play a part in solving the UK's energy crunch, and create new energy-related jobs in many areas," he added.

Meanwhile, North Yorkshire councillor Peter Sowray has said he was "comfortable with the outcome" as "it's just one well":

It will take time for it to calm down, for some people it never will but we have made a decision today, the majority of members voted that way, and I'm comfortable with the outcome.

People said they'd come to live in a beautiful area and they want it to stay that way but fracking this one well is not going to affect that beautiful area.

It's just one well, one existing well that's going to be fracked. It's not going to be hundreds of wells, it's just one well, that's all we're talking about.

– Peter Sowray, North Yorkshire councillor

Friends of the Earth: Fracking approval 'absolute travesty of a decision'

Friends of the Earth has called North Yorkshire County Council's approval of fracking in North Yorkshire as 'an absolute travesty of a decision'.

Protestors demonstrating against fracking, react outside County Hall, Northallerton, as councillors have approved an application by UK firm Third Energy to frack for shale gas near the village of Kirby Misperton, North Yorkshire. Credit: Press Association

"This is an absolute travesty of a decision but the battle is very far from over.

“Today 7 out of 11 North Yorkshire county councillors voted to approve this fracking application in Ryedale, ignoring the objection of Ryedale District Council itself, as well as thousands of local residents and businesses.

"Despite this decision, public support for fracking is plummeting as Wales, Scotland and countries across Europe have suspended it. The risks to people’s health and the environment are unacceptable and we will fight on.”

– Simon Bowens, Yorkshire and Humber campaigner for Friends of the Earth

Meanwhile Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom said fracking is a 'fantastic opportunity' which will help jobs and the economy.

“This decision has been made by the local council. We’re very clear that fracking is a fantastic opportunity. It’s good for jobs, the economy and strengthens our energy security. “We already have tough regulation in place to ensure that fracking is safe. We are now looking forward to the safe exploration of shale gas beginning and finding out just how much of this home grown energy supply is available to power our homes and businesses.”

– Andrea Leadsom, Energy Minister

Fracking given green light in North Yorkshire

An application to frack for shale gas at a site in Kirby Misperton, near Pickering has been approved by North Yorkshire County Council.

Councillors meeting at County Hall in Northallerton voted seven to four in favour of proposal by Third Energy, paving way for first fracking in UK for five years.

Anti-fracking protestors were warned to stay within the law as the plans were debated.

After the decision around 200 protestors started chanting 'we shall overcome' outside County Hall.

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