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Fracking update: Community groups take legal action

Fracking campaigners

As the High Court today (22 November) begins to review claims of the ‘unlawful’ granting of permission for fracking operations near Ryedale, two further challenges have been issued against fracking decisions in Lancashire.

The case was brought to the High Court by Friends of the Earth and campaign group Frack Free Ryedale, with activists arguing that North Yorkshire County Council acted unlawfully in approving test drilling at Third Energy’s Kirby Misperton site in May this year.

Friends of the Earth’s Yorkshire and Humber campaigner, Simon Bowens, argued: “North Yorkshire County Council failed in their legal duty to fully assess the impact this fracking application would have on the climate and in protecting their local communities against long term financial risks.”

The judge will be asked to grant a judicial review of the decision.

Last week two sets of legal proceedings were also issued challenging Sajid Javid’s decision to grant fracking operations in Lancashire, according to law firm Cornerstone Barristers. Preston New Road Action Group issued an application to quash the secretary’s decision to grant permission for fracking at Cuadrilla Bowland’s Little Plumpton site, with the group arguing that the decision was unlawful as it failed to "correctly understand and apply the development plan and to act in accordance with the rules of natural justice".

A separate claim was lodged by a local resident, Julian Burton, who sought to challenge the decision to re-open part of the planning inquiry concerning highway issues related to operations at Cuadrilla’s Roseacre Wood site. The claimant argued that the decision to re-open the inquiry was “unreasonable, unfair and affected by bias” on the part of the secretary as Cuadrilla has had “two years and many opportunities to prove the safety of its proposals".

More information can be found here.