Officials seek to ban Sunday fracking in key vote on Yorkshire shale gas plan

KM8 radius

Central white dot marks KM8 site where Third Energy wants to frack

Local councillors vote next week on the first plan to frack in Yorkshire.

There’s no official recommendation yet on whether Third Energy’s scheme at Kirby Misperton should be approved. But if it is, officers at Ryedale District Council have said fracking should not be allowed on Sundays.

The vote on Tuesday (15th March), by Ryedale’s planning committee, is an early test for Third Energy’s plan to frack the existing KM8 well. The final decision will be made by North Yorkshire County Council, possibly next month.

In a report to the committee, Ryedale officers said there were no grounds to refuse the application because of noise.

They said impacts on traffic, air quality and water could be controlled by “strict compliance with stringent conditions”. But the Environmental Health Officer added that if Third Energy refused to agree to the conditions the application would be unacceptable.

The report also said concerns remained about the effect of the plan on the local visitor economy and a proposed cycle route.

Fracking hours

Third Energy has said it should be free to frack at KM8, less than a mile from some houses in Kirby Misperton, on any day of the week, including Sundays. It has proposed hours of 7am-7pm from April to October and 8am-4pm from November to March.

But Ryedale’s Environmental Health Officer has said there should be no fracking on Sundays or outside the hours of 8am-6pm, Monday-Saturday. There should also be no fracking on bank holidays.


Third Energy has said the nosiest operations – fracking and site preparation – would last a total of eight weeks. It argued that under planning guidance* this is regarded as short-term and day time noise levels of up to 70 decibels should be allowed.

Ryedale’s Environmental Health Officer said:

“Such a level for such a period would be regarded as very disturbing”.

The officer said the 70 decibel level should be regarded as a maximum. A lower level should be agreed.

Predicted noise levels during the day and night at the nearest home, Kirby O Carr, were “not insignificant”, according to the officer.

Third Energy has said it would install an acoustic barrier to reduce noise from the site. But even with this in place, predicted noise during fracking would be 48-59 decibels at Kirby O Carr. This would be above what is known as the SOAEL, Significant Observed Adverse Effect Level.

At night, noise from the site is predicted to be 12-15 decibels above background levels at the property when the workover rig is operating. This is on the threshold of acceptable standards, the officer said.

But the officer concluded “some degree of noise and disturbance is inevitable” and added:

”I do not believe, if adequately conditioned, that there are sufficient grounds to sustain an objection on the grounds of noise.”

The officer recommended North Yorkshire County Council require Third Energy to revise its noise monitoring plan. This set levels at which the company would take action to reduce noise. Ryedale District Council said the action levels had been set too high.

Air quality

The Ryedale committee report said an original assessment of the fracking plans had predicted that emissions would exceed air quality standards.

This has since been reassessed, the report said. As a result, it concluded that air pollutants from the site were “below the level of significance” for air quality and so would not “have any significant impact” on the homes nearest the site.

But the report criticised the proposed air quality monitoring. Samples would be collected fortnightly and the results reported to third Energy within 20 days of collection. This could mean that Third Energy would not know about air quality problems until nearly five weeks after they happened. The report said:

“The delays in analysis and reporting, while providing monitoring information to be compared against what was predicted, will have no practical effect if there were some measures of mitigation that could be undertaken in the interim.”

It recommended daily inspections for dust and said the odour management plan should specify how monitoring would be carried out.


The proposed route for lorries delivering to KM8 would use a section of the proposed cycle route from Malton to Pickering.

Ryedale council estimated the scheme would increase peak daily traffic on this section of the cycle route by up to 259%. The council’s Economy and Community Manager said any increase in traffic, particularly heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) would have:

“a detrimental effect upon the rural character and therefore attractiveness of the [cycle] route – particularly to less confident cyclists, including younger families”.

Third Energy has responded saying the road was already used by traffic visiting the Flamingo Lane theme park.

The company has reduced the number of HGVs likely to visit the site by changing its noise-reduction plans. It had original proposed a barrier built from shipping containers. This would have needed 156 individual lorry movements to deliver and remove. But the latest plan is an Echo Barrier acoustic screen mounted on a single layer of containers. This is predicted to need 72 individual lorry movements.

Opponents of fracking in Ryedale are planning a rally outside the council meeting in Malton on Tuesday. Frack Free Ryedale said:

“It is really important that Ryedale District Council realises that this application can be opposed on planning grounds, and that many people do oppose it on planning grounds”.

The meeting is 6pm on Tuesday 15th March in the Council Chamber, Ryedale House, Malton, YO17 7HH.

Link to planning committee agenda and reports

* Paragraph 22 of the Planning Practice Guidance Minerals

6 replies »

  1. Wells have been drilled at KM before. Other than the HF stimulations what’s different this time? Presumably previous drilling had planning permission etc? I expect rigs were noisier when the original Wells were drilled.

  2. Hi there, You may not be aware of a situation with relevance to fracking…..It is the Waste4fuel site in Orpington, more links if you google Waste4fuel..That was published last year….the whole story relates to whois responsible for the clean-up since the operators went bankrupt…it left theEA powerless, and Bromley council has ‘no responsibility’ and neither of themhave any funding.This is exactly what could happen to a fracking site afteroperation….no one is responsible in Law to tidy up and finish off, despite EAregulations.Thought you could send something on to the Lancs Councillors….Roisin

     facebook/LadyRoisinwww.originalwreath.weebly.comI am a Trustee of Planet Earth Please join me at

    From: DRILL OR DROP? To: Sent: Sunday, 13 March 2016, 18:42 Subject: [New post] Officials seek to ban Sunday fracking in key vote on Yorkshire shale gas plan #yiv4563286282 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv4563286282 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv4563286282 a.yiv4563286282primaryactionlink:link, #yiv4563286282 a.yiv4563286282primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv4563286282 a.yiv4563286282primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv4563286282 a.yiv4563286282primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv4563286282 | Ruth Hayhurst posted: “Local councillors vote next week on the first plan to frack in Yorkshire.There’s no official recommendation yet on whether Third Energy’s scheme at Kirby Misperton should be approved. But if it is, officers at Ryedale District Council have said fracki” | |

    • The EA are really excellent at proving powerless, so no worries there….at the end of the day, we the tax payer end up paying the bill…..

      By law the landowner is liable for cleanup, has he gone bankrupt as well?.

  3. Many locals were disturbed by the noise when they drilled KM8, some complained to the council and as for air quality – and noise, Third Energy’s proposals should not be accepted. The monitoring proposed is a joke.

    • Third Energy, formerly Viking, formerly./…whatever. already have form in the area. They have a conventional drill at Ebberston which produces gas for an electricity plant nearby.

      Barclays have a bit of a history in the area. When banks shut down in rural areas, Barclays promised to stay…hence bankorial lords that now rule. They have a big input into AONB as well as owning much grouse shooting in the region of North Yorks. It seems Barclays want the favour of remaining for banking to be repaid with support for fracking, hence Ryedale and AONB moot anti frack stance….indeed Ryedale and AONB seem to want to lie down and think of….errr….eerrrrr…..vineyards on Alderney perhaps?

  4. Ryedale Council is a rather closed shop I find, after reading council meeting minutes and many of their planning apps they have considered in the past. I believe they also have AONB bods sitting on the council and it reminds me very much of ancient Witan councils, rather than a modern responsible or democratic convention.

    Touring Ryedale is a glorious revisit of 50 years ago where nothing has changed, the old English culture is preserved and the coffee shop in Malton sells the best coffee I have ever tasted. Worrying that Thornton Le Dale had to battle against gasification plans for the area, and two drill sites reign supreme in the region if you include the AONB mineral drillling currently ongoing. Shame that such a beautiful heritage is being subjugated to fracking roll outs when Howardian Hills nearby owns mineral rights, and yet thrives on selling produce grown on some of the most pristine land in Yorkshire, and yet fails to come out and shout against fracking, when all of its produce can be compromised if fracking goes ahead. I certainly wont be buying from their farms or distilleries or water supplies any time soon if fracking gets the go ahead, and their organic lavender farm will be at risk too.

    The whole region thrives on a tourist industry where families take young children for fresh air, that’ll be changing soon then? Not only that, the spas in the area attract tourists and history fans alike, but once the groundwater gets polluted, you do wonder which way the area will choose to lose. Personally I wont wish to travel country lanes and compete with HGV’s, nor will I want to confront the spectacle of a beautiful quiet region being violated with horrendous noise. This is happening in valleys in Cumbria and is a very unpleasant experience that spoils walks in the ex peace and quiet of the countryside.

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