Anti-fracking campaigners in North Yorkshire are preparing to fight the planning application submitted last week by Third Energy to hydraulically stimulate and test its existing gas well at Kirby Misperton.
Chris Redston, of Frack Free Ryedale, said: “We will be vigorously opposing the application.”
The area’s new Conservative MP, Kevin Hollinrake, said he would request a meeting with the Energy Secretary, Amber Rudd, to discuss his concerns about impacts of the proposed development on local people and the environment.
The application was submitted on Friday last week (22nd May 2015) but has still to be published by North Yorkshire Country Council. The site is near the Flamingo Land theme park and holiday resort, about 25 miles from York.
Third Energy is the second company to submit a planning application to frack a well in the UK. Cuadrilla’s applications to frack up to eight wells in the Fylde district of Lancashire will be decided by Lancashire County Council at the end of June.
Frack Free Ryedale told its supporters: “We should have 12 weeks to make comments and objections, so we’re not rushing into things, and we would advise our members and other supporters to wait a little while before objecting. We will be going through the application very carefully and then posting guidance about what people can object to.”
Mr Hollinrake, who replaced Anne McIntosh on May 7th, wrote on his website that any proposals to frack for shale gas must “be shown to be safe and discrete”. He said if the application were approved he would work to ensure there was no significant impact on the lives of local people. “We need to make sure that the regulations are strong, and are monitored independently”.
The MP said Third Energy had agreed to water and air monitoring by an independent contractor, supervised by the Environment Agency. He also the company had made a commitment to a minimum of six miles separation between drilling site and each site being no more than “a few hectares”
“I would absolutely hold them to account for these commitments”, he said.
Mr Hollinroke added: “I will be requesting a meeting with Amber Rudd, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change to discuss [community benefits] and my serious concerns for the health and wellbeing of local residents and the impact on our local countryside. For now, I will be watching and scrutinising this proposal every step of the way.”
In a statement, Third Energy’s Operations Director, John Dewar, said on Friday: Submitting this application is an important milestone in the project to establish the potential to produce gas from the ‘Bowland’ strata beneath North Yorkshire. We know that the gas is present but it is only by actually hydraulically stimulating the rock that we can understand the potential of the gas to flow and the likely volumes that can be produced”.
He continued: “We are proud of our 20 year history of safe and low key operations in North Yorkshire and this project is designed to continue in the same way.”
Third Energy said if the tests were successful they would be followed by the production of gas into the company’s existing production facilities for the generation of electricity.