Decision on Third Energy fracking plans delayed as planners ask for more information

Proposed fracking site

Third Energy’s proposed fracking site at Kirby Misperton

North Yorkshire County Council is unlikely to make a decision on Third Energy’s plans to frack at Kirby Misperton by the target set by the government.

Planners have written to the company asking for more information on issues including noise, lighting, roads, traffic, heritage features, hydraulic fracture treatment and water.

A 21-day public consultation is expected on the new information. This is likely to take the council beyond the 16-week period set by the government for deciding oil and gas applications.

The council’s planning committee heard this morning that the council had written to Third Energy requesting further information and clarification. The letter, which runs to more than 10 pages, also included responses from the statutory consultation from Historic England, Public Health England, the council’s Director of Public Health and its advisors on ecology and landscape. Link to letter (see page 30 of the Documents section)

North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) had suggested the application would be decided on Monday 2nd November. But a spokesperson for the authority said this afternoon that date was now unlikely. There are suggestions that it will not be decided this year.

In the council’s letter, the head of planning services, Victoria Perkin, said:

“It is possible that the current 16-week determination period which expires on the 18th November 2015 may need to be extended”.

Third Energy will need to approve an extension of the decision deadline.

At a meeting of local people earlier this month, there were calls for NYCC to be given more time to decide the application.

But the Energy Secretary, Amber Rudd, told the Yorkshire Post last week, a decision on fracking in North Yorkshire must not be held up by the local council. She said:

“I just want people to stick to the rules, and guidance and the timetable.”

Referring to new government guidance on the 16-week target issued in August, Ms Rudd added:

“We have put down additional instructions on the planning guidance in order to ensure that councils don’t spend over a year – as they have in the past – thinking about this.”

Further information

Ms Perkin’s letter to Third Energy has more than 60 separate bullet points, which are either requests for information or comments from consultees for Third Energy’s response.

On further information, the letter asks for more detail on:

  • Systems to reduce noise from the site
  • Environmental impact of lighting the rig and high coil tubing tower
  • Impact of traffic to the site during the peak visits to Flamingo Land in Kirby Misperton
  • Impact of two HGVs travelling in opposite directions near the narrow bridge over Costa Beck
  • Capability of the bridge to withstand abnormal or heavy loads
  • Contingencies for any road closures
  • Impact on the proposed Pickering to Malton cycle route
  • Impacts on other road users, particularly touring caravans and trailer-tents using local camp sites
  • Measures to prevent conflicts between lorries and parked cars in Main Street, Kirby Misperton
  • Assessment of undesignated heritage assets
  • Duration and timing of the mini or test fracture operations and the volume of water required
  • Environmental assessment of naturally occurring radioactive materials from the well
  • Abstraction points for water to be used onsite
  • Contingencies for water pipeline failure or disruption

Consultation responses

Historic England said the effect of vibration on heritage sites, such as Kirby Misperton church, had not been clearly defined. The council’s landscape advisor said information support the restoration plan was insufficient .Public Health England asked for more information on odours from the site and their impact on people living nearby. PHE added that the Air Quality Monitoring Plan did not “provide for reassurances about the identification and investigation of any potential impacts to be given to local residents”.


The letter asked for clarification about external lighting, air quality and ecological monitoring, conflicting information on deliveries to the site, the height of the proposed noise screen built from shipping containers and the expected length of production from the well. The letter noted that the application did not include a legal agreement to provide £100,000 and 1% of revenues to the community.

Third Energy’s application was validated on 29th July 2015. Link to the application.

3 replies »

  1. It does seem ludicrous that the council is missing so much additional information which presumably should have been presented earlier. The clock should not start ticking until the council have been given all the information required on which to base a decision.

    It is also interesting to see the absence of a legal commitment to the community “incentives” promised by UKOOG

  2. Goodness can’t believe how clued up folk are on this and I refuse to play the game and will give up my questions which have not been answered and they matter more than any postured in above list:::

    I dearly would love answers to these pressing questions about the wonderful wave of fracking in an area I visit frequently:

    If my dog drinks water that turns out to be polluted as a result of fracking, who would be held accountable?

    How is the safety of farm animals, wild animals, aquatic life being safeguarded by regulations?

    What measures should I take to protect my gran’s cat and dog, if she lives near frack sites, so they don’t get exposed to rogue methane emissions once fracking gets rolled out, not to mention young children who may come home vomiting after being exposed to rogue emissions due to an escape into the country…..has Jeremy Hunt prepared A and E for such an event?

    What is the council going to spend all that money the gov is going to give it for passing the fracking application?

    How much of the money will be put on one side to clean up sink holes, toxic spillages, environmental damage such as soil erosion from endless convoys of HGV’s, health problems such as cancer, breathing problems etc not forgetting ethane emissions known to arise and cause problems ten years after fracking has finished?

    Given land Title Deeds make owners liable for any damage to health safety and welfare of people using it, who is accountable for death, injury, damage to people, livestock, pets as a result of fracking related activity under privately owned land? The landowner or the fracking industry, the council or Parliament?

    Given frackers trampled all over gardens in Lancashire without owner permission, before the government slammed through an act giving free pass for frackers, are land owners expected to put up and shut up when they do it in Ryedale and what about trespass laws, do these no longer apply to frackers? What if the frackers want to put up signs in private gardens or on farmland etc?

    If frackers can clean up water polluted by fracking chemicals, why are they polluting drinking water reserves, and not cleaning sea water to use for fracking—especially as used fracking water contains a vast array of salts anyway?

    Can cllr Hollingrake give us a full list of all the chemical pollutants the DWI (Department for Water Industry) is charged with testing for across the North Yorks region, and does it include the following chemicals:-

    heavy metals
    gas sediment
    hexavalent chromium
    radioactive material
    ammonium and other aquatic poisons
    propane, butane and isobutane

    Subsequently add noxious and toxic underground naturally occuring substances arising as a result of fracking, which should remain firmly deep buried in the ground:
    toluene and ethylbenzene
    polyaromatic hydrocarbons (mostly connect to coal but may also be linked to frack in this country)

    And given many of these don’t emerge from fracked sites till 2-10 years after fracking has ended, ethane particularly, what regulations are in place to monitor this and remedy the effects?

    Fracking companies in the US are known to promise insurance cover for metropolitan councils and residents, however once dangers arise they dissolve the company and fade away, rendering the insurance null and void. What is the good cllr doing to ensure this doesn’t happen, leaving the N Y council and rate payers, picking up the bill for compensation claims?

    Given the multi million regulations our gov says are the ‘envy of the world’ didn’t pick up on or act upon VW and other car emissions, how capable is the self regulation body in this country and why does anyone think it is to be trusted?

    Why is the EA dept only handing out a map of toxic waste sites for N Yorks circa 2013 and not any recent years, and where is its map of proposed storage of frack toxic sludge sites…..I need to know this so I nor anyone I know, don’t buy a house near one…..

    How far short is the EA on Public information data?

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