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Yorkshire fracking plan recommended for approval

Words: Laura Edgar

A council report has recommended that fracking tests by Third Energy in Ryedale, North Yorkshire, should be given the go-ahead.

The application includes hydraulically stimulating and testing various geological formations previously identified during the 2013 KM8 drilling operation, the production of gas from one or more of these formations into existing production facilities and wellsite restoration.

The site is in Kirby Misperton, Ryedale.

Last month, the Environment Agency granted Third Energy the environmental permits required to allow the company to carry out fracking for shale gas at an existing borehole. 

The council’s report explains that First Energy had established a Community Liaison Group. This consists of members from the villages of Kirby Misperton, Great Habton and Great and Little Barugh, district and county council ward members, representatives from the agricultural and tourist industry and Third Energy. The applicant has also proposed that a community forum should be set up to relay any concerns back to the company.

The report sets out concerns that were raised during consultation, including climate change, the adverse impact on drinking water, local wildlife and air quality.

However, it states that the county planning authority is “satisfied that the mitigation of the effects of the development with regard to safeguarding the local landscape and protection against adverse visual impacts are both appropriate and proportionate”.

Rasik Valand, chief executive of Third Energy, said that within the company’s application and North Yorkshire County Council’s “thorough” assessment of it, including consultations held, “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 officers’ 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," he said.

Simon Bowens, Friends of the Earth’s Yorkshire and Humber campaigner, expressed disappointment at the decision to recommend approval.

He warned that Third Energy “shouldn’t be popping champagne corks yet”.

“North Yorkshire councillors have been presented with clear evidence that this application could harm local wildlife, local business, people's health and the environment - including from Ryedale District Council, Flamingo Land and the Wildlife Trust.

"The council must now listen to the thousands of residents who have objected to fracking, and the strong evidence put before them, and reject this proposal to frack”.

The council is set to make its final decision at a meeting on 20 May.

The officer’s report can be found here.

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