Breaking: Anti-fracking groups urge councillors to refuse Third Energy shale gas plans

Anti-fracking rally in Malton

Opponents of shale gas have appealed to county councillors in North Yorkshire to overrule planners and refuse Third Energy’s application to frack at Kirby Misperton, in Ryedale.

Tonight, the council published a recommendation by planning officers that the scheme should be approved. The planning and regulatory functions committee meets on Friday 20 May to decide the application. DrillOrDrop post and links to report

The report conceded that many of the 4,000+ representations to the county council on the application were objections.

The campaign group, Frack Free Ryedale, has instructed a QC to outline how councillors can confidently reject fracking on defendable planning grounds as Lancashire did last year.

Ian Conlan, from Frack Free Ryedale, said tonight:

“This application is only ½ a mile from the village of Kirby Misperton and Flamingo Land, the single largest local tourist attraction and employer, which has recently objected to the application on health grounds and its cumulative impact.

“Flamingo Land join the thousands of residents, businesses, farmers and landowners that have objected to the application in unprecedented numbers to the County Council.

“When democratically elected councillors see the overwhelming opposition from our communities to fracking, and the votes of Ryedale District Council, all five Ryedale Town Councils, and numerous parish councils, we hope that they will recognise the strength of public opinion and turn this application down.”

David Davis, who lives in Hovingham, said:

“Residents have many serious concerns on the impacts of this particular application that are highly relevant in planning terms including exceptional traffic, noise, air pollution and visual impact on local residents, the precedent it would set for 1000s of wells across Ryedale, as well as concerns about the disposal of waste water.

“Ryedale District Council has already found it to be contrary to the Ryedale Plan, and we urge councillors to listen carefully to our arguments and the weight of public opposition and reject this application”.

Professor Nick Cowern, from Oswoldkirk, said:

“We now have substantive evidence that [shale] gas is worse than coal in terms of global warming emissions of fugitive methane combined with carbon dioxide, at least on timescales of several decades to a century which will affect our children and grandchildren.

“This of itself is enough to irrefutably rule out fracking as a way of meeting our climate change obligations. Shale gas is a fossil fuel, rapidly becoming obsolete as the world moves to a new energy future based on renewables”.


Friends of the Earth reaction

Friends of the Earth’s Yorkshire campaigner, Simon Bowens, said:

“While it is disappointing that planning officers have dismissed the serious risks of fracking in Ryedale, Third Energy shouldn’t be popping champagne corks yet.

“North Yorkshire Councillors have been presented with clear evidence that Third Energy’s application could harm local wildlife, local business, people’s health and the environment – including from Ryedale District Council, Flamingo Land and the Wildlife Trust.

“The council must now listen to the thousands of residents who have objected to fracking, and the strong evidence put before them, and reject Third Energy’s proposal to frack”.

Meeting details

Many Ryedale residents have applied to speak at the committee meeting at County Hall in Northallerton.

Frack Free Ryedale is predicting more than 1,000 people will take part in a demonstration outside the meeting. The fashion designer, Vivienne Westwood, is expected to be among speakers calling for a refusal of the application.

Another demonstration of supporters of fracking is also expected. People at both events will be able to follow the committee’s discussions through a live audio link.

Updated 13/05/2016 to correct link from video to audio