1. ITV Report

North Yorkshire Council to recommend that tests for fracking SHOULD go ahead near Kirby Misperton

Photo: ITV Tyne Tees

North Yorkshire Council is to recommend that tests for fracking SHOULD go ahead on fields near the North Yorkshire Moors National Park.

A UK firm has applied for permission under the Government's new fast-tracking scheme to explore for shale gas around the village of Kirby Misperton.

It's lead to angry protests from environmental campaigners and locals with concerns over the controversial technique.

Work on the site moved a step closer after a report by North Yorkshire County Council recommended permission is granted for testing on deposits first identified in the area by Third Energy in 2013.

The report admitted that many of the 4,000 representations it had received in consultation were in objection to the plans, with concerns raised over impacts on climate change, water quality, air pollution and the possibility drilling would trigger earthquakes.

Environmentalists accused planning officers of dismissing "serious risks" associated with fracking in the area despite there being "clear evidence" it could harm wildlife, people's health and local businesses.

Campaigners from across the country have pledged to stage a protest against the plans when North Yorkshire County Council's planning committee meets on May 20

Dame Vivienne Westwood is expected to attend the meeting.

In August the Government announced new measures to speed up the process by which companies can apply for planning permission at drill sites.

Energy ministers said the plans would both ensure local people have a "strong say" over the development of shale exploration in their area and benefit communities and firms by speeding up the planning process.

North Yorkshire County Council's report recommended the project should go ahead as it would help to provide for the nation's energy needs and said there would be sufficient safeguarding measures put in place to protect the environment.

What is fracking?

  • Fracking is a technique used to drill for deposits of fossil fuels that cannot be extracted by conventional means.
  • It involves pumping fluids into rocks at such high pressures they fracture, releasing the gas or oil locked inside.
  • Critics say the process is disastrous for the environment, leading to pollution of ground water and even triggering earthquakes.
  • Britain is thought to have large deposits of shale gas that can be exploited by using the method.

The council should listen to the thousands of residents who had objected to fracking at the site.

While it is disappointing that planning officers have dismissed the

serious risks of fracking in Ryedale, Third Energy shouldn't be popping champagne corks yet.

North Yorkshire Councillors have been presented with clear evidence that Third Energy's application could harm local wildlife, local business, people's health and the environment.

Third Energy said it has taken "every possible step" to ensure the plan will not impact the environment.

– Simon Bowens, Friends of the Earth's Yorkshire campaigner

Statement from Third Energy

“We are pleased that the Planning Officer has recommended that North Yorkshire County Council approve our application. Within our application, and throughout North Yorkshire County Council’s thorough assessment of it, including various stages of consultation, and through all the additional information provided, we have addressed the wide range of questions, concerns and comments raised by NYCC, statutory consultees and others.

This work is reflected in the Planning Officer’s Report together with the planning conditions proposed. We believe that this thorough report will enable North Yorkshire County Council to reach a positive determination on our application.

Third Energy has been drilling wells and producing gas safely and discreetly from this site in Kirby Misperton for over 20 years and we will continue to maintain the same standards in the future.”

– Rasik Valand, Chief Executive of Third Energy

Statement from North Yorkshire County Council

The recommendation by North Yorkshire County Council’s chief planning officer on the planning application from Third Energy to undertake fracking for shale gas in the vicinity of Kirby Misperton has been made following a diligent consultation exercise and consideration of over 4,000 representations. Given considerable public interest in this application and numbers of registered speakers, the planning meeting to determine the application will now take place over two days – Friday 20th May and Monday 23rd.

– Statement from North Yorkshire County Council