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.”
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
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.