The North Yorkshire council which includes the village where Third Energy has applied to frack voted this evening for a five-year moratorium on the technique.
A full meeting of Ryedale District Council approved the moratorium on fracking by 13 votes to 7. The rest of the councillors abstained.
Ryedale District Council will not make the decision on Third Energy’s plans to frack an existing well at Kirby Misperton. But it is a key consultee of the Mineral Planning Authority, North Yorkshire County Council. Following tonight’s vote, Ryedale will object to the application.
Sue Gough, from Frack Free Kirby Misperton, said,
“This is extremely welcome news and we are delighted that the District Council have voted to ban fracking in Ryedale for at least the next five years. Bearing this in mind, it is hard to see how the County Council can override the wishes of the RDC – which is fully supported within the community – and we now call on Third Energy to withdraw their application to frack within 400m of people’s homes in Kirby Misperton.”
Steve Mason, from Frack Free Malton and Norton, added,
“This is the latest in a long line of elected bodies to oppose fracking in Ryedale. Town councils in Malton, Norton, Kirkbymoorside and most recently Helmsley have already passed motions opposing fracking, as have many Parish Councils. Now, with the Ryedale District Council voting for a moratorium, the message to North Yorkshire County Council and Third Energy is clear – people in Ryedale do not want fracking.”
The motion for a moratorium was proposed by two Liberal councillors, John Clark and Councillor Joy Andrews. They argued that “on the scientific evidence to date Ryedale Liberals believe that the case for fracking is not made”. They cited risks or impacts on health and air and water quality. They also said the impact on agriculture, tourism and traffic was unknown but likely to be negative. Their motion read:
This council therefore resolves:
(i) On the present information available RDC calls for a 5 year moratorium on fracking in Ryedale. When sufficient evidence becomes available RDC can reconsider its policy.
(ii) It therefore calls upon the Planning Committee to take this decision into account when making its recommendation to NYCC on the KM8 planning application.
This was Cllr Clark’s second attempt to get a ban approved by Ryedale District Council.
In February, the council failed to back his motion following a warning from its solicitor that a blanket ban would be illegal. On that occasion, an amended motion “noted the extent of public concern about the potential damage to the environment caused by fracking.” The council agreed it would not support fracking applications until it was satisfied that concerns had been resolved satisfactorily.