Regulation

Breaking: Third Energy fracking plan for Kirby Misperton approved

Kirby Misperton

North Yorkshire County Council’s planning committee has approved plans by Third Energy to frack its existing well at Kirby Misperton in Ryedale.

The decision was greeted with shouts and tears from opponents of the scheme both inside and outside County Hall in Northallerton.

The committee voted by 7 to 4 to approve Third Energy’s application to frack, test and produce gas from its KM8 well for up to nine years.

The result came at the end of two days of testimony and discussion.

The council’s planning officers had recommended approval despite more than 4,000 objections and a petition of more than 2,500 signatures.

Councillors who voted against the application: John Blackie (NY Ind), Bill Hoult (Lib Dem), David Ireton (Cons), Robert Packham (Lab).

Councillors who voted for the application: David Blades (Cons), Robert Heseltine (Ind), Andrew Lee (Cons), Clifford Lunn (Cons), Peter Sowray (Cons), Cliff Trotter (Cons), Robert Windass (Cons).

Reaction to the decision

Opponents: The fight goes on 

Supporters: One first step

More reaction

Updated 27/5/2016 with names of councillors who voted in favour and against the application and links to reaction posts


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

51 replies »

  1. The well that the company intend to fracture is I think already drilled so it will only take 8 weeks to complete. I think this is all the industry has been asking for, a chance to demonstrate this important new technology can be adopted in the UK safely. I fear any disruption to the area will come from protests rather than the work itself.

    There is so much evidence on both sides that one can pull up dozens of websites on either side. To me the best positive evidence is the fact that 350,000 wells have been fracked in America’s enormous backyard. Given the very powerful environmental lobbies there and the power to sue in cases of harm, if there had been serious concerns the industry would have ground to a halt by now. In the UK the National Grid report that 15gb of new gas power stations will be built by 2021 to act as a back-up for green but undeniably intermittent wind and solar power. It’s great that some of that gas may come from homegrown sources rather than from some of the grim middle-eastern regimes.

      • Danielsjulie ,

        It’s a question of education and combating ignorance .

        People don’t like what they don’t/can’t understand .

        Why should the council listen to residents who don’t even want to understand ?

  2. All i not lost. Let’s face ti folks there is much to be concerned about, particularly in light of the fact we have full written record of who said what, how they arrived at the decision and how far they strayed from the rule of national and local democracy. the leading planning director made many statements which she needs to be pulled up about, including ignore the public, they have nothing to do with planning.

    The documents Jojo Mehta has given to MP’s and Councillors, warning them of their democratic duty to the community they are meant to serve and keep safe, now need sending to her and her ilk. We also have full chain of command reported, for in future when things go wrong, these people can be made accountable, and crowd funding can be used to great effect in any litigation.

    We are already seeing paedophiles, Hillsborough police and soon Orgreave wrongdoings and oppression of the public by shoddy due diligence by those charged with doing better than that delivered,now being brought to light by those with honesty and integrity who will not stand down from upholding and promoting true democratic purpose. What we can do is help promote that purpose and stay strong in fostering it over the next few months till the council is made to deliver better democracy than that delivered today.

    This decision is flawed and it will be overturned.

  3. but anti frackers can afford to be wrong Mark. Believe me I would love nothing better than to admit I was wrong and you were all right. But can you afford to be wrong, because if you are wrong the price to pay will be heavy. It’s already been tried in Lancashire and caused an earthquake. That is not scaremongering it is a fact. Britain is tiny compared with the USA, our water supply is a precious commodity, once its poisoned it useless for drinking.

    • You are right about the Blackpool tremors which were 2.3 on the Richter scale. Cuadrilla should have done their job better and identified the faults on 3D seismic. Third have done that at KM. Regarding water, our water supply is precious of course, but the evidence is quite simply overwhelming that fracking does not interfere with water supplies. Recent research from the US looked at 6000 wells and could not find evidence of harm. Anyway, if I remember rightly government legislation forbids fracking in areas designated as sources of water supply.

      Basically as I’ve said here a couple of times, it’s logical and obvious that intermittent renewable electricity needs a backup fuel. Could be biomass but that is probably impractical on a large scale so we have to choose, coal, nuclear or gas until battery technology improves or research produces an energy miracle.

      • You don’t seem to read the many posts that challenge these statements. Why?

        There is an acceptance for the time being of gas (North Sea) being a transition fuel, but not shale as it is a dirty as coal. Why do you keep mentioning these fictitious batteries?

        You only have to do your research to find evidence of harm, but don’t believe all you read….get out yourself and talk to those who have to live with the negative effects of this industry, in the US, Netherlands Australia and now the North West of England. Plenty of evidence of harm, from well contamination, sickness, loss of livelihood, stress, loss of value of property etc etc etc

      • “it’s logical and obvious that intermittent renewable electricity needs a backup fuel.” No it doesn’t. We could also use tidal power and maglev energy storage. It’s obvious to anyone with half a brain that fracking is a really, really, bad idea .. its like something out of Mordor .. I’m still speechless that it’s a reality.

      • We don’t need to choose at all. There’s plenty of fossil fuels to buy on the energy market we all belong to.
        Increase renewables. Cut back on fossil fuels. Employ energy efficiency. We can then make the fuel we buy go alot further. Another 5 – 10 years and technology will show us the way. Problem is political will and intense lobbying by those that like the status quo. Energy is money and there’s much to be made upstream and downstream. Chemical industries here in the UK stand to benefit enormously but we don’t hear much about that. There’s money to be made by the private water companies. The list goes on. The likes of the residents in the fracking zones are expendable. Nothing but an inconvenience.

  4. I have no confidence in figures they can be manipulated to suit which ever side of the fence you are on. I could just as easily post figures which support anti fracking but it would be dismissed by even more figures and so on and so on. As I said I can afford to be wrong.

  5. MARK if you are talking about the US Environmental Protection Agency ( EPA ) study.

    Then you are WRONG.

    Google and read the following reports.

    EPA’s Findings In Fracking Water Pollution Disputed By Its Own Scientists, 19 November 2015.

    EPA’s Abandoned Wyoming Fracking Study One Retreat Of Many – ProPublica

  6. Last post, on the subject of risk Natinal Grid CEO has said electricity supply margins next winter will be “thin” (although 15gb of CCGT stations are in the pipeline by 2021). It’ll probably be dealt with by “demand management” ie paying firms not to produce at peak times, I guess laying people off in the process. It could get worse with rolling domestic blackouts if we have a very cold winter. Probably nothing we can do about that now, fracking or not, as the power stations haven’t been built.

    However just to add my own bit of scaremongering to counter the environmental fears. Each year about 3000 people die each year from cold homes (the UK has some of the most expensive energy in Europe). If next winter is cold then there is a real possibility that many more will die if there are blackouts. What number would you put on that risk?. in other words for the sake of saving future climate change we may be sacrificing the frail and elderly in the short term. Hope I’m exaggerating but just to illustrate that risks are not all on one side.

    • MARK, for once we agree on something.
      Energy costs in the UK are to expensive.

      Whether we have fracking or not, the cost of energy will not come down ONE PENNY, as anyone knowing how the UK energy market works would know.

      TAX, that’s one of the main problems dictating our high costs.

      • Julie, yes provide the poor and elderly with free heating, personally I’d gladly pay a bit more tax to do that.

        The point I was making is that next winter there is a risk (and it doesn’t have to be big risk to be scarey) that there won’t be any heating to give away because the electricity that runs gas central heating pumps will be cut off.

  7. Dear me, we have covered this topic too.

    People die from lack of money. The choice for many vulnerable people is heat or food. Poor pensions from the austerity state coupled with inflated energy costs from greedy profiteers leads to these sad and very much avoidable demises. More caring people who look after their elderly or vulnerable neighbours, who help them get any help they are entitled to; better pensions for all instead of large bonuses for the few are needed, not shale gas which is likely to inflate the price of their energy higher.

    Stop scaremongering about blackouts. Start working on filling the gap with as much wind and solar as the grid will take and top up with N Sea gas. Continue with energy conservation and educate to expect and use less, so that everyone can benefit. If you go ahead with shale, these numbers will increase; you will sacrifice the future of our planet and billions of lives.

    • Shale gas and light tight oil from frac’d formations has already reduced Briton’s household bills massively .

      European gas prices would be much higher if the U.S. was not producing so much domestic gas and had to buy it on the world market .

      WTI and Brent Oil prices would be close the the S.N.P.’s forcast $140/bbl instead of the current sub $50 if the U.S. was not producing so much domestically .

      As for solar p.v. , it’s unviable in the U.K. and the only reason it features is democracy – people who are innumerate demanding it and unscrupulous politicians subsidising it in exchange for their votes .

      As for wind , it cannot be relied upon so requires conventional nuclear and fossil fuel backup .

      As for tidal , a single lagoon can produce 4 times per day and requires energy storage for the rest of the day . It’s not just cyclical within a day but within the spring-neap tide cycle .

      Neither Renewables nor sentiment are going to cut it for a small country which already has 70 million people and has a leftist progressive population which considers anything other than an open door immigration policy decided by people in Brussels “racist” and “xenophobic” .

      This is all quite apart from the two thirds of energy which is not delivered as electricity but is used for transport , domestic and industrial heat .

  8. I know I shouldn’t …

    Dear me, you really are sure of yourself..

    If you accuse we of scaremongering, please do not refer to “sacrificing billions of lives”.

    “Top up with North Sea gas”, thinking about risk again, how does the human cost of another possible Piper Alpha, not to mention numerous fatal helicopter crashes compare to a negative outcome in Kirby Misperton or to the negative outcomes from shale gas exploration generally.

    ” Educate to expect less” , you mean one billion people in India and one billion in China who are understandably saying, “it’s our turn now to have first world levels of energy usage”. The climate stays the same or gets warmer because climate change is planetary.

    “Better pensions”, yes but who’s going to pay for that….”from bonusess” I doubt it, I know it’s a common refrain but I suspect the bonuses of even a pigsty full of bankers wouldn’t pay for much of an extra pension for the elderly. Mischievously it might help if the elderly didn’t have to pay the green levy on energy bills. Basically unless the country earns it we can’t pay it out in pensions. Austerity was a response (perhaps a bad one) to declining UK economic performance. Please don’t start on about the bankers again, they may be a money grabbing bunch of barrow boys but unfortunately the financial sector pays something like 20% of all taxes and if we extract more from them they will, corporately just bugger off to Frankfurt or New York. That’s the way it is and short of a revolution that’s the way it’ll stay apart from minor economic tinkering. A thriving shale gas industry (yes I know Jack we’re in a European gas market) might just make a small, and in my view environmentally sound, contribution to UK plc. Like it or not you’re in it.

    “Greedy profiteers” yes I think business does seem to attract more than it’s fair share of psychpaths in suits like certain ex owners of BHS. Yes screw them for all you can, but unfortunately but how can they be distinguished from your average successful businessman, by the way, watch in the next year or two how the perception of Elon Musk, currently darling of the green movement, changes on this “honest businessman to greedy profitee” dimension.

    Yes that’s covered it, take care.

    • Top stuff Mark. Very well said.I don’t think these anti frackers see the balance required to quench our energy thirst. They all think we can click our fingers and everything will be solar or wind turbines. Wake up people. In a dream world I would love a fully renewable energy society,but it’s just not possible in this day and age.Yes,of course the long term plan is for 100% renewable,but Gas must be used to bridge that gap till we achieve this goal. Simple common sense. Smell the Coffee people.
      If people like Vivian Westwood thinks this industry is immoral,then perhaps I might protest over a £500 shirt she sells that looks like someone has puked over it. Double standards I’m afraid. Let’s face it,there was no more than few hundred outside awaiting that decision,and there is 64 million people in Britain. We need Energy,for the national interests. The vote went 7 to 4 in favour of going ahead with the plan, now move on and let this god given gift benefit us all.
      Now it’s the huge responsibility of this firm to conduct procedures in the most responsible that they can.
      We are probably the most regulated of all oil and exploratory countries around the world,but am not naive to things going wrong either,thats life,so let’s also hope that the regulations and observers also keep a close eye on this industry so that we can proceed with this industry to the best of our abilities.

  9. Look into the background of (a) the people on the council who voted for this and (b) the directors/owners of the company that wants to ruin this wonderful countryside…guess what…all related to the government or work for the government!!! This is not what we pay taxes for, and I AM concerned, I’m in East Yorkshire and we will be next for the overriding decision, we had wind farms installed against our wishes now can’t hear ourselves think, straw burning plants, let’s industrialise the bits we don’t have to live in shall we Cameron and Osborn??? (And help our father-in-law’s company on the way!

  10. We could go on forever, Mark…but hey

    It’s good that you acknowledge the failings of the oil and gas industry, despite those ‘robust’ regulations……

    You stated that people die due to lack of fuel, people have already lost their lives due to global warming. The link has been acknowledged finally by politicians between the burning of fossil fuel and increase temperature of the planet and the further risk to countries with low lying lands and the change in growing ‘seasons’ for others. This can only escalate with the harvesting of further fossil fuels such as shale gas. Not scaremongering, just one possible outcome for the future.

    Gas is only a transition fuel to our inevitable renewable future. As the North Sea already has the infrastructure in place and the world has more oil and gas ‘in reserve’ than is safe to burn, I think common sense should prevail.

    We all need to increase generation of clean renewable energy and share this in the world. It’s interesting that many industrialized countries are already turning to renewables, many have banned fracking on health and economic grounds; no point in your world…they must have it wrong?

    What a waste for the UK to be seen to be running down the wrong alley and investing in the worse fuel possible instead of continuing with wind and solar investment. It is ironic that Yorkshire has plans for the biggest offshore wind energy generation in the world, and then turns round and slaps its residents in the face with the approval of this very controversial application.

    We can argue the finer points here until we are blue in the face, but the hard truth is we all have to make a decision. Arguing here on this forum serves no purpose. It is what we do with our lives, each of us should be making those necessary changes. I for one have started on that path as have many who have had their eyes opened with the antics of the shale industry. There is no going back, we can only hope some of the common sense and facts fall on fertile ground and produce a positive response. There will always be stony ground where nothing grows, some people will never change their minds, and I respect that.

    I think all the arguments are now out there. This blog has given everyone the opportunity to put forward evidence for both sides. It’s up to everyone to make their own choices. I, and my family have made ours.

    I also wish you well.

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