A decision on Third Energy’s plans to frack for shale gas in Ryedale could now be delayed until March.
North Yorkshire County Council confirmed today that it would not meet the target date agreed with the company for Tuesday 9th February.
Third Energy has applied to frack up to five sections of the existing KM8 well at Kirby Misperton. It is also seeking consent to carry out a flow test on the well and, if this is successful, to produce gas for up to nine years.
The target date was set last November when the council asked Third Energy for more information of the impact of its plans on noise, light, traffic, local heritage, water and landscape. The council also asked for details about when fracking would take place and a legal agreement on community benefits.
But a council spokesperson confirmed today that Third Energy had not provided all the information requested. He told DrillOrDrop:
“Once we are satisfied that we have all the information we need we will go out to a further consultation for 21 days. This will take us past the 9th February planning meeting.
“We continue to endeavour to meet the earliest planning committee meeting we can for a determination on the Third Energy shale gas application at the KM8 well site near Kirby Misperton.”
The BBC (see bottom of report) says the application is not now likely to be considered before March. Third Energy is quoted as saying the delay is “disappointing”.
Chris Redston, from Frack Free Ryedale commented:
“It appears that the NYCC are still waiting for some further documentation from Third Energy that they asked for under a Regulation 22 request last October.
“While Third Energy did manage to post some rather hurriedly complied new documentation last week, there are still numerous gaps and unanswered questions regarding their plans – not least the problems of how to manage the very high levels of HGV traffic during the tourist season, when nearby Flamingo Land will be open for business. When all the documentation is finally received, the NYCC are expected to offer this up for a 21-day consultation period, as is their statutory duty.”
“The County Council are only following due process as is usual in major planning applications, and the latest delay is therefore entirely the responsibility of Third Energy.”
Sue Gough, from Little Barugh, which is only a mile from the well, said:
“From the very beginning of this application – when Third Energy needed to submit the application three times before the NYCC would even accept it – to the latest delays due to the company’s continuing inability to submit the documents required, the latest delay only confirms what everyone in North Yorkshire has been saying for some time – Third Energy are simply not fit to frack.”
Simon Bowens, Friends of the Earth Yorkshire and Humber Campaigner, said:
“North Yorkshire County Council is right to delay this decision which, for a start, could have a profound impact on Yorkshire’s beautiful landscape. This deserves full investigation.
“This latest set-back for the fracking industry will make people question whether it will ever happen in Britain.
“It’s time to look at the real reason that fracking has failed to take off anywhere in this country: it is risky, unpopular and is still not likely to bring energy bills down. And this is without considering the biggest issue in this debate which is that fracking is just not compatible with preventing climate change.”
Extension to permit consultation
People have an extra four weeks to comment on whether Third Energy should get environmental permits to frack at Kirby Misperton.
The Environment Agency (EA) consultation period was due to run until 15th January. But, after receiving a request for an extension, the EA decided to extend the consultation to allow people more time to read the proposals and submit comments.
The consultation now ends on Friday 12th February.
The EA has said it is minded to grant permits covering mining waste, groundwater activities and radioactive substances.