Opponents of Third Energy’s plans to frack a well at Kirby Misperton in North Yorkshire are celebrating this morning after Ryedale District Council voted for a five-year moratorium on fracking.
But Third Energy, which has applied to frack in Ryedale, said there were no grounds for the vote. It hoped North Yorkshire County Council, which will rule on the application, would make a decision on the facts.
The motion was proposed at a full meeting of the council last night by Liberal councillor, John Clark. DrillOrDrop report After the meeting Cllr Clark said:
“I am delighted with the result of tonight’s vote. Despite all the efforts of the Council Conga over nearly a year to stop it being debated. It is a disgrace that the council has not until this point realised the potential impact of fracking on the economy, environment and health of the people of Ryedale.”
A supporter of the motion, Cllr Tim Thornton, said:
“This moratorium allows time for Ryedale Council to properly consider whether fracking is safe and advisable to be carried out in the district. Around 80% of the area has been earmarked for fracking, and until now the council had no policy. The planning committee now has a policy to take into account when it is consulted by North Yorkshire County Council on the first frack in Ryedale”.
Monica Gripaios, from Frack Free Ryedale, said:
“This is a clear signal to the NYCC and the government that people in Ryedale do not want the traffic, noise, pollution and creeping industrialisation that fracking would bring to this quiet rural area, which relies heavily on tourism and agriculture for its prosperity. Fracking has never been more unpopular nationally and locally, and we urge everyone who opposes fracking to join the RDC in objecting to the planning application at Kirby Misperton.”
At one point it looked as if Cllr Clark’s motion would not be debated. It was only when members voted to suspend standing orders that the issue was discussed.
Before the vote, Louise Allanson, of Friends of Ryedale Gas Exploration, made a statement in support of fracking. In it, she concluded:
“Hydraulic fracturing is highly likely to become a reality for Ryedale even though a number of councillors are at present opposed to the process. Many businesses and individuals in Ryedale are concerned that because of their negative stance the future benefits of playing a part in the supply chain could be lost.
If hydraulic fracturing does develop in Ryedale this could offer many opportunities. Will councillors put aside their opposing political views to pull together for the betterment of Ryedale and work as a team to ensure that Ryedale responds quickly to the requirements of the gas industry?”
In a statement this morning, Third Energy said:
“There are no grounds for the Ryedale District Council vote. Responsible and internationally respected bodies and experts including Public Health England, the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management and the Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering, have all concluded that the risks of fracking can be managed in a well regulated environment, which we have in the UK.
“Gas has been produced safely and securely, in Ryedale for over two decades. We trust that North Yorkshire County Council, which is the responsible planning authority, will consider all the facts before it makes its decision on our application at Kirby Misperton. We will continue engaging with the local communities to inform of the plans, and how any potential risks are managed to ensure minimum impact to the public and the environment.”
Updated at 11.53 on 9/10/15 with Third Energy statement