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Legal challenge to fracking approval in North Yorkshire is rejected

Words: Laura Edgar
Fracking / iStock_000022131270

Environmental campaigners have lost their High Court action against a decision to allow fracking to take place in North Yorkshire.

North Yorkshire County Council’s planning committee granted approval for Third Energy’s plans to frack for shale gas near Kirby Misperton, Ryedale, in May 2016.

It was the first fracking operation to be approved in England since a ban was lifted in 2012.

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

The campaign groups said the county council had failed to properly assess climate change and had also failed to secure long-term financial protection against environmental damage.

Mrs Justice Lang, however, concluded that the county council “acted lawfully” and dismissed the call for a judicial review.

In a statement the county council said it “has not sought to bring fracking to North Yorkshire. Having received this application, we had a responsibility to determine it and to apply national and local policies”.

It added: “We followed a statutory process, and the High Court has found that we followed it correctly and has rejected the issues raised by Friends of the Earth.”

Rasik Valand, chief executive at Third Energy, said the permission places a great obligation on the company to prove that it can carry out the test fracks in “the same safe, discreet and environmentally sensitive way” that it has conducted gas exploration and energy generation.

“We are confident that we will prove to the local community that their elected representatives were right to grant this permission.”

Reverend Jackie Cray, claimant in the case, said: “We will continue to campaign on behalf of local communities for the sake of our children and their children’s health and well-being, and the long-term prosperity of our area. We are not prepared for Ryedale to become a sacrifice zone for the sake of industry greed.”

Image credit | iStock