64 speakers gave evidence to North Yorkshire County Council today against Third Energy’s plan to frack at its existing KM8 well at Kirby Misperton.
Many were local residents. Speakers included a professor, a baroness, a knight of the realm, a former climate diplomat and a current climate scientist, a retired bishop, four county councillors and four representatives of parish councils, as well as doctors, researchers and local business people.
From more than eight hours testimony, we’ve picked out some of the key points they made in their own words.
The meeting resumes on Monday when it will hear from supporters of the proposal. We’ll be reporting from that session, which is expected to reach a decision.
Fracking is the crack cocaine of fossil fuels – one well is never enough.
Over recent years I have challenged everyone to tell me where I can see for myself anywhere in the world an example of friendly fracking. I have not had one reply.
Sir Richard Storey, Settringham, near Malton
Fracking is only worthwhile if done intensively on an industrial scale.
Third Energy’s application
You are charged by the people of Ryedale to take account of the impacts on the environment and the local economy. I believe you have been asked to take too much on trust. I think there are grounds to delay or refuse this application.
Baroness McIntosh, former Conservative MP for Thirsk and Malton
There is a high degree of uncertainty about whether KM8 will produce and for how long because it is the first well to be fracked and it is a horizontal, rather than a vertical well.
Matt Farrelly, oil and gas professional and consultant to Frack Free Ryedale
Location of the KM8 site
Where would you choose a site for fracking? I’m fairly certain you wouldn’t choose a site downwind of a small village with narrow roads, next to a public right of way and a water course leading into a protected area.
Steve Maslen, planning consultant
Opposition to the plans
Members of frack free Ryedale are not professional campaigners, as had been claimed by supporters of the scheme. Many have not campaigned on any issues before. Many are hard-working parents. They feel there has been a campaign against them and they have been accused of scaremongering.
Katie Atkinson, landscape consultant to Frack Free Ryedale
First UK fracked well for five years
Please don’t let Ryedale to be the first area to allow fracking. Do not devastate our area. Listen to our local residents. This could ruin our way of life. Let democracy take place. Refuse this application.
Lyndsay Burr, county councillor representing Kirby Misperton on North Yorkshire County Council
Fracking invariably changes the character of the places that accommodate it. It is for you and you alone to judge whether that would be a desirable change or an undesirable one. But as it takes its course, if it turns out to be unwelcome, people will surely say: “this began in Kirby Misperton; that’s where we could have stopped it.
John Ashton former climate diplomat for the UK government
Are you, as representatives of our beautiful county, prepared to take away jobs in tourism and farming? I trust you are not.
Steve Pearse, resident of Great Barugh under a mile from the proposed fracking site.
At a time when the British public are beginning to rediscover the beauty of its countryside why would you want to bring this blight and take the risk of sacrificing it all?
Tony Finn, Worsley Arms, Hovingham, Ryedale
On which planet could this be considered to benefit the local area and economy?
Jules Marley, CPRE, referring to plans to stack shipping containers 9m high as a noise barrier
When the Police and Crime Commissioner was asked about the 5mph speed restriction on the Costa Beck bridge, she laughed. It would appear planners have not consulted with the police on this issue.
Ian Conlon, who lives five miles away and whose bedroom is in direct line of sight to the well
It staggers me that the traffic survey was carried out before the opening of Flamingo Lane in March.
Stephanie Pride, employee at Flamingo Land
Threat and risk
I, as a local resident have no confidence in their [Third Energy’s] capacity to act in an open, transparent and competent manner with this highly risky and potentially dangerous process.
Nicky Mason, speaking about an incident involving the venting of 70,000 cubic metres of methane at a Third Energy site in Ryedale not reported to the Environment Agency within the required timeframe
You must determine what level of risk is reasonable to ask of a community. You have to decide about what the science tells you about the distance of a well from a home.
Dr Tim Thornton, district councillor and retired GP
Does the committee want to wait five years to see who has fallen ill? And how will you know? Don’t let this industry get a foot in the door. It all starts with one well.
Rev Graham Cray, Kirby Misperton
If central government wants to go all out of shale it should take responsibility for it… Do not be a stalking horse. Refuse this application with one voice and return this application to where it belongs, central government.
Your hands may be tied so that you cannot act for us directly in some issues, but in matters where you are able to act for us – please – act for us and use whatever means are left to you to refuse this application.
Cllr Erica Rose, Helmsley Town Council
You have a moral duty to take into account a wider set of issues. …Your moral responsibility make this the most important decision of your careers.
David Adam, Ryedale resident
The world is not going very far very fast on climate change. Developing shale gas would lock the methane in for decades.
Dr James Hansen (read by Brian Appleby)
[If you grant this] Your climate change policy will be in tatters and completely untenable.
Edward Arthur, local resident who retired to Ryedale
We need to use the supplies [0f gas] that we have at present. It is perverse and genocidal to search for more.
Parish councillor Annette Hudspeth
[On bats around the KM8 site] No one had bothered to look. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.
Kieran Sheehan, ecological consultant for Frack Free Ryedale