The company withdrew a previous application after admitting there were minor problems with it. But a letter from the council, published by Frack Free Ryedale, ran to nine pages and listed 29 different reasons why it had not been validated. Our report
The second application was submitted by hand on 2nd July 2015. But at the end of last week, North Yorkshire County Council again refused to validate.
A letter from the Head of Planning Services, dated Friday 17th July 2015 and again published by the campaign group, said the company has not followed procedures for informing people about the plans. Read the letter here: Third Energy second failed validation application
According to the council,
- Third Energy’s description of the development in the press and in on-site notices was different to the description in the planning application form
- Third Energy’s site notice failed to say where relevant documents were available for inspection
- The company failed to provide landowners near the site with complete and accurate information
- It failed to provide notification of winning and working minerals underground, which is a legal requirement
- It used the wrong form for a newspaper advertisement resulting in the omission of information
Chris Redston of Frack Free Ryedale said
“We are astonished to hear that Third Energy’s application as failed to be validated for the second time, and we are starting to wonder if this fracking application is from Third Energy or the Three Stooges.”
Sue Gough, from Frack Free Kirby Misperton, said:
“The fact that Third Energy failed to inform nearby landowners or the general public correctly about the proposed fracking application tells you all you need to know about the company’s competence.”
“If they are unable to fill in Site Notice forms correctly or inform the public in the proper manner, even at the second time of asking, how on earth can they be allowed a licence to frack?”
“If Third Energy are not too embarrassed by this latest failure to withdraw this application completely, they must be required to post the necessary notices all over again, including allowing for the statutory 21 days waiting time, before they have another go at getting their application validated.”
The planners’ letter said the description in the notices did not mention the equipment referred to in the application that will be used in proposed development. This includes:
A 37m workover rig, hydraulic fracture equipment, coil tubing unit, wireline unit, well testing equipment, high pressure flowline, temporary flowline pipe supports, permanent high pressure flowline and permanent pipe supports.
The two descriptions are considered to be materially different, the letter says. This “renders the notices deficient in that they do not adequately inform the recipients/readers of the notices as prescribed”, it adds.
As a result, the planners said: “it cannot be considered that the notices have been duly served, published or posted in the way prescribed”.
Inspection of the application
The planners said: “the applicant is responsible for making the application available for inspection within the area of the local planning authority”; however, there has been no evidence submitted with the application to demonstrate compliance with this requirement.”
Informing landowners near the site
Article 13 of the Town and County Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) Order 2015 requires notices to be served on any party with an interest in the land.
The planners said: “Having reviewed the application documents, the letter that is stated to have been served on a known owner of land does not cover all the points which are set down within the form as prescribed in Article 13.”
“Although the requirements allow for some scope to vary from the notice in Schedule 2 these omissions lead to a view that the notice is not ‘substantially to the same effect’ and is not ‘requisite notice’.”
Third Energy used the Site Notice form for its advertisement in the Malton Gazette & Herald instead of the Press Form. This resulted in some information being omitted from the advertisement, including the rights of owners and tenants of land. The council said:
“The relevant notice is … should cover issues covered by that Form and elements are missing (the rights of owners or tenants of land), there are also issues regarding the inspection of documents/and the description of the development.”
Third Energy has asked for the application to be decided at a special meeting in November 2015, at which no other plans would be considered. The council said it did not oppose this idea in principle. But it added that the planning committee may choose a later date “should circumstances differ from that which currently prevails”.
Third Energy comment
A spokesperson for Third Energy said:
“The planning application has not yet been validated as duly made by the North Yorkshire County Council. This is due to differing interpretations of statutory legislation regarding notices required. We are communicating with the council and our application is proceeding.”