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Campaigners launch legal action against North Yorkshire fracking decision

Words: Laura Edgar
Fracking / iStock_000022131270

Friends of the Earth and Frack Free Ryedale have applied to the High Court for a judicial review of North Yorkshire County Council’s decision to allow fracking near the North York Moors National Park.

In May, the county council’s planning committee granted approval for plans to frack for shale gas near to Kirby Misperton, Ryedale. It was the first fracking operation to be approved in England since a ban was lifted in 2012.

The campaign groups said the key reasons for pursuing legal action are:

  • The council’s failure to properly assess climate change, with the campaigners saying the council did not consider the environmental impact of burning gas extracted to create electricity at a nearby power station in Knapton; and

  • The council's failure to secure long-term financial protection against environmental damage.

Jackie Cray, a retired vicar from Kirby Misperton, said: “North Yorkshire County Council has a moral and legal responsibility to ensure against harm to current and future generations. We believe that they have failed in that duty in two key areas – climate change as well as making sure that there is enough money to clean up if anything went wrong.

"We call on the High Court to ensure that this crucial decision for our village and the wider population is made lawfully.”

Simon Bowens, Yorkshire and Humber campaigner for Friends of the Earth, added: “Shale gas is a dirty fossil fuel and it is the responsibility of North Yorkshire County Council to require a full assessment of the impact this fracking application would have on the climate. They failed to do that, and this is why we believe the courts need to consider the way that this decision was arrived at.”

The High Court will now decide whether or not a full hearing should be carried out.

Image credit | iStock