Breaking: Planners recommend approval of Third Energy fracking plan in N Yorks

Kirby Misperton

Plans by Third Energy to frack an existing well near the North Yorkshire village of Kirby Misperton have been recommended for approval.

A report by planning officers at North Yorkshire County Council has been posted online this evening supporting the application. The council’s planning committee meets next week in Northallerton to decide on the plans.

The report said:

“Notwithstanding the acknowledged high level of public interest in the proposal, the application must be determined in accordance with the principles applying to the determination of all applications.”

“It is concluded that the proposals receive support, or do not conflict with, some policies in the development plan.

“It is considered that the development would not conflict with those polices seeking to prevent unacceptable harm from being caused to residential amenity, highways and transport interests, ecology, restoration and aftercare, archaeology, flooding, land instability and cumulative impact.”

The report added that objections covered a range of arguments include adverse impacts on climate change, surface and ground water, landscape, air quality, noise, dark skies, heritage, seismicity and local highways.

But it said the county planning authority was satisfied that mitigation to safeguard the environment, amenity and traffic were “appropriate and proportionate”.

If the scheme is finally approved approved it is likely to be the first well to be fracked in the UK since May 2011. That was when Cuadrilla stopped work at its Preese Hall well in Lancashire after two small earthquakes.

Permission, if granted, would allow Third Energy to frack five sections of the well down to a maximum depth of 3,043m. It also includes a production test for 90 days and production up to nine years.

The planners have recommended conditions covering issues such as smell, traffic, working hours, noise, lighting, air and water quality. Flaring will be prevented.


Third Energy first submitted plans almost exactly a year ago to frack, test and produce shale gas from its KM8 well. It took three submissions before North Yorkshire County Council was willing to validate the application.

North Yorkshire twice requested extra information from the company and there have been a total of four public consultations, resulting in more than 4,000 representations.

Last month, Third Energy’s operations director, John Dewar, described the plan as his “crowning glory” after more than 40 years in the oil and gas industry. Speaking at a meeting in Scarborough for potential shale supply chain companies he sounded confident that the scheme would be approved. Earlier in April, the Environment Agency announced it had granted three environmental permits for the KM8 scheme.

But most of the representations to the council were objections, including a recent change of heart by the Flamingo Land resort in Kirby Misperton, one of the biggest tourist attractions in North Yorkshire.

There have also been recommendations to refuse from Ryedale District Council, all five town councils in Ryedale (Malton, Norton-on-Derwent, Helmsley, Pickering and Kirby Moorside), as well as the parish councils of Habton, Rillington, Great and Little Baugh, Kirby Misperton, Marishes and Normanby.


The meeting of the planning and regulatory functions committee of North Yorkshire County council is on 20 May 2016, at 9.30am, County Hall, Northallerton, DL7 8AD.

The 11-member committee listed to decide the application is entirely men. It comprises seven Conservatives, three independents, one Labour and one Lib Dem.

Anti-fracking campaigners from throughout the UK are expected to take part in a Rally for Ryedale outside the council offices.

More details coming soon

Link to meeting information and the planning officers’ report

This report is part of DrillOrDrop’s Rig Watch project. Rig Watch receives funding from the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust. More details here

12 replies »

  1. Imagine an earthquake happening at Flamingo Land?????? What are you thinking council & mine companies, oh of course filling your boots at our expense and risking our lives and livelihoods

    • Why not just look up the data yourself. No need to imagine.

      Fracking in the UK caused two ‘notable’ tremors in 2011. These measured 2.3 (01/04/2011) and 1.5 (27/05/2011).
      Checking the BGS database we find several tremors in North Yorkshire over the past few years.

      There was one near Ripon in 2011 measuring 3.6. The Richter Scale is logarithmic so:

      3.6 is 125 times larger than 1.5


      3.6 is 20 times larger than 2.3

      There have been several other quakes/tremors in North Yorkshire since 2011.

      Flamingo Land has already experienced many tremors. Note that the largest fracking quake in the UK was 2.3. The BGS cannot measure any tremor below 2.0 in a city or town because of the energy from the traffic, which is equivalent at the surface.

      No need to imagine things when we have science.

  2. Why aren’t these protesters going after everyone who drives a car and leaks poisonous fumes into the air? Double standards I’m afraid.

    • Cowardice. They cannot protest the people they need to stir up to try and get their way.

      As such we get these lovely scenes of people driving past the protesters honking their horns and the protesters lapping it all up. Makes me laugh.

  3. No double standards from the drillers though, just the usual snide snake-belly ones… See you in A&E, we may be having our stomachs pumped or blood replaced beside each other… Let’s hope every £ = -1 karma points, if it doesn’t cost before then… The vehicle manufacturers are the cause of the aforementioned, alongside (again) the Oil & Gas interests weighing down the possibilities of moving forward from this…

    • FergiDean – all the recommendations in the Chemtrust report have already been implemented in UK – what is your point of making this link? What is wrong with sand, water, PAC (used in cosmetics and water treatment) and a bit of soap? More scaremongering untrue rubbish emanating from people who think we are the US and choose to believe a lot of the BS that comes from over there is applicable here.

    • Sorry Tank Girl, I am missing the point you are trying to make here? If it is to do with using the same chemicals over here as used previously in the US, you are mistaken as this will not happen. SOS? Do you mean Secretary of State? He decides planning issues, not which chemicals are used in wells.

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