Updated: More reaction to Kirby Misperton fracking approval

On Monday evening, North Yorkshire County Council’s planning committee voted by seven to four in favour of an application by Third Energy to frack its existing well at Kirby Misperton in Ryedale.

We reported on the immediate reaction from supporters and opponents of the proposal. This round-up has more reaction from the industry, opposition and politics (listed alphabetically). Please let us know if you’ve seen reaction that we should include. 


Stephen Bowler, Chief Executive of IGas

stephen-bowler“We were delighted that Third Energy were granted planning permission to hydraulically fracture their existing KM8 well and welcome the decision taken by North Yorkshire County Councillors in their careful consideration of the facts and the recognition that this established onshore industry can carry out its operations safely and environmentally responsibly.  There is a pressing need to deliver lower carbon energy that is home grown, provides important energy security for the future alongside economic benefits to the local communities as well as the country as a whole.” Company statement

Claire Dutch, Hogan Lovells law firm advising the shale industry

“We are at the beginning of the shale gas journey in the UK, but this is a significant step forward for the industry. We could see the start of the tide turning for unlocking shale gas development in the UK.” Quoted by The Guardian

Stuart Fegan, GMB national officer

GMB will monitor with interest the viability test on the well in Kirby Misperton North Yorkshire over the coming year. Shale gas extraction presents a significant opportunity to maintain energy security and promote skilled job creation in the UK but all relevant safeguards, consultation and regulation of the industry must be scrutinised to the highest standard by public officials. Anything less than protecting these workers from exploitation in a fledgling industry, as we did with gas workers 126 years ago, would be a betrayal of our history and moral responsibility.Union statement quoted by ITV News


John Ashton, former climate change diplomat

JohnAshton“There is a growing feeling that the decisions that shape our lives are no longer being taken with us but imposed on us, by people who do not know how we live and who care more about their own narrow interests than about the public interest.

“To impose fracking as a national project against the will of the people will dramatise this deeper unease, as it already has in every community that has found itself in the crosshairs of the industry. This can only fuel sentiments of powerlessness and anger of the kind that will now be felt strongly across Ryedale.

“We know from our own history and from current events elsewhere that such sentiments, unless quickly defused, can have unpleasant political consequences.” Extract of an article for The Guardian

Ian Conlon, Frack Free Ryedale, on community benefit payments

Ian Conlon“If I was offered it I would not accept it, as I consider it blood money. The Kirby Misperton parish council has turned the application down, as have other parish councils, all five Town Councils in Ryedale, and Ryedale District Council. No amount of money will compensate for loss of amenity and health impacts and impact on climate change.” Quoted by The Daily Telegraph

Jules Marley, regional chairman of the Campaign to Protect Rural England

“It’s heartbreaking. There is bewilderment here about how this decision was reached in a democracy. People are angry and hurt and their belief in the system has been damaged because they made their representations with dignity and balance and yet they’ve been ignored. We are walking towards the industrialisation of the National Park. We’ve only got one countryside and once it’s gone, it’s gone forever.” Quoted by The Daily Mail

Sarah Hockey, anti-fracking campaigner from East Yorkshire

“It is a war, now, they’ve declared on us. It’s a war on our human rights to clean air and water so we’ve got to take it like that and keep pushing and pushing and pushing.” Quoted by The Guardian

The Hon Nicholas Howard, Castle Howard

“Any attempt to discuss the above [concerns about regulation, local roads and methods to extract shale gas] with representatives of the industry or government (including the local MP) only results in patronizing denials of the potential problems. The same half-truths keep being trotted out by the industry, despite categorical rebuffing

“Castle Howard is surrounded by Grade 1 monuments, buildings, and other structures, not the least of which is the finest non-urban collection of Hawksmoor buildings in the country. These are prime heritage assets for which I am responsible. I would be derelict in my duties were I not to raise the possibility of their ruination through seismic events caused by the hydraulic fracturing process and associated processes. It has yet to be demonstrated that this is not a material worry.” Letter to The Yorkshire Post.

Jules Marley, regional chairman of the Campaign to Protect Rural England

“It’s heartbreaking. There is bewilderment here about how this decision was reached in a democracy. People are angry and hurt and their belief in the system has been damaged because they made their representations with dignity and balance and yet they’ve been ignored. We are walking towards the industrialisation of the National Park. We’ve only got one countryside and once it’s gone, it’s gone forever.” Quoted by The Daily Mail

Emma Thompson, actor

GBBO“It’s extraordinary that the 36 won and the 4,375 lost! We had to take account of what Cameron’s ‘greenest government ever’ wanted and that was to frack the UK countryside regardless of what local people thought about the matter.” Quoted by The Mirror

Paul Wicks, chairman of Kirby Misperton Parish Council

“Better minds than mine can probably analyse what’s wrong with a system that prevents councils from making decisions based purely on the best interests of the public by creating a bureaucratic process that only allows ‘material considerations’ to be taken into account when making decisions that affect so many.” Speaking on BBC Radio York about his decision to resign.

Mr Wicks said he was “unable to to represent the interests of people in the village” and that the application was “clearly not in the interests of the village”.


Kevin Hollinrake, MP for Thirsk and Malton

KevinHollinrake“Following the decision by North Yorkshire County Council to approve the shale gas application at Kirby Misperton, I believe that we must now focus on making sure that the work is carried out safely and sympathetically to the countryside and the daily lives of local residents.  Our precious environment must be protected and rigorous monitoring of any effects on water and air quality has to be a priority. Regulations must be overseen in a proactive and robust manner and companies must be held accountable.

“These things are part of the work programme of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Shale Gas Regulation and Planning. I have chaired several meetings already in which experts from various fields have given evidence and information on subjects including regulation and environmental impact. The next meeting will take place on 7th June in Westminster. This will focus on planning, looking at the impact on the visual landscape and managing traffic, noise and light pollution. I feel that the APPG is an important forum to ensure fracking is done correctly and reviewed at every step.

“Already there has been baseline monitoring of air quality, water quality and seismic activity. This will obviously continue so that experts can be alerted to any changes. The British Geological Survey and the Natural Environment Research Council are involved in this work and the APPG will be keeping up with the latest developments. I have always stated that if exploration works cannot be carried out within exceed acceptable environmental standards then I will call for a moratorium. This countryside is part of our heritage that we must preserve it for future generations to enjoy, whilst also providing for their energy and economic needs.” Statement on his website

Lisa Nandy, shadow Energy and Climate Change Secretary

LisaNandy“The controversy over this application shows fracking is still hugely contentious yet the Tories abandoned their promise of tougher safeguards. We need robust rules to offer communities reassurance that the environmental risks will be properly managed and local concerns will be listened to. There should be a moratorium until stronger protections are in place.” Labour Party statement

Molly Scott Cato, Green Party MP, South West England

“This is the tip of the iceberg and we could now see the frackers begin their march across our beautiful region. Some of our most fragile and treasured landscapes could become exposed to noise, air, light and water pollution.” Quoted by The Daily Mail

Mark Wallace, Conservative Home

“It is … good news that the County Council chose to focus on the sober realities of the proposal rather than bend to the demands of the loudest protesters outside their meeting. For too long, the development of a British shale gas industry – which offers employment, improved energy security and a sustainable route to getting out of coal – has been delayed by a combination of hysterical opposition and incompetent handling on the part of industry”. Extract from article on the Conservative Home website

Live updates on decision day on Third Energy application

Live updates from Day 1 of Third Energy fracking meeting at North Yorkshire County Council

Updated at 22.33 to include quotes from the Hon Nicholas Howard and Paul Wicks

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

24 replies »

  1. “imposed on us, by people who do not know how we live and who care more about their own narrow interests than about the public interest.” What a ridiculous statement by John Ashton! It because of concern for the broad public interest in our economy, energy security, balance of payments & indeed the environment that some politicians (of all serious parties ) show the guts to stand up to the nimbys & misguided “environmentalists” who seem to think we can fund a decent welfare state on wind & sunshine.

    • “You cannot drill and frack without harming the environment and communities,” said Maya K. van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper and head of the non-profit Delaware Riverkeeper Network. “You cannot look at the data and come up with a genuine belief that shale gas extraction can be done safely. We’re seeing what’s happened in the Susquehanna River basin and bringing that to the Delaware will devastate our communities and our river.”


        • Actually, what is happening in the Susquehanna River Basin is quite promising for the gas industry. The group that was set up to monitor the Susquehanna River Basin has said that they “have not detected discerible impacts on the quality of the Basin’s water resources as a result of natural gas development.”

          That was based on a study that spanned five years and over 2,200 wells.

          So, the facts kind of speak for themselves Wanderingdutch.

    • Hello ROD,

      You clearly are firm in your belief that those opposed to this form of extreme from of energy extraction are wrong. You must have some very compelling evidence to support your claim.

      Could please explain to all those against this industry, exactly where and why they have got it wrong.
      Better still, maybe you would like to contact these world leading organisations and explain to their professors and doctors of science, medicine and engineering where they have got it wrong.

      Just Google any of the following below, (as it reads) to read their reports and statements on the dangers of fracking .

      NOBEL PEACE PRIZE winners, ( PSR ) Physicians For Social Responsibility, fracking

      DEFRA, fracking report

      BREAST CANCER ACTION, fracking

      BREAST CANCER FUND, fracking

      BREAST CANCER UK, fracking

      STOP CANCER NOW, Fracking and your health, 24 February

      PREVENT CANCER NOW, Fracking shale gas and health, a case for precaution.

      CAPE’s position statement on fracking , June 2014.


      headlined…. Toxic Chemicals, Carcinogens, skyrocket near fracking sites.

      BRITISH MEDICAL JOURNAL fracking ….. public health England’s draft report on shale gas extraction. The BMJ.

      Maybe you would also like to comment on the article published on the Guardian Newspaper 30th March 2015, HEADLINED. ….. Doctors And Academics Call For Ban On Inherently Risky Fracking.

      SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY fracking …. scientific review reveals public health and data gaps.

      PHYSICIANS, SCIENTISTS AND ENGINEERS FOR PUBLIC HEALTHY ENERGY ( PSE ) fracking ……. and read the many reports published by them regarding the dangers of fracking.


      • Jack,as much as I like your fire and fight,its time to accept the truth now,and come to the realisation that your battle is lost.Give in to the drill. The Drill Lords are coming. It’s like Game of Thrones my friend,we know The White Walkers are coming,we dont like it,but how in this world do you stop them. Stand a side,or run?

        • We will see Roy.

          It is my opinion, if it does not get the public mandate, it will never go ahead on any commercial scale.

          Due to the power of the internet, people are now learning about the real dangers associated with this industry. They are asking some very difficult and awkward questions, which is why the industry keeps such a low profile when it comes to regular dialogue with local communities.

          You have to ask yourself this question……. Fracking companies need huge amounts of investment to sustain and move the industry forward. One thing hedge fund managers and pension investment firms do not like is unknown risk. With such a highly controversial industry like fracking. Do you honestly think you will see investment firms throwing money at the fracking industry ??

          Whenever the public have become aware that their money has been invested in to this industry, great pressure has been applied. At the end of the day, it is their money.

          You will find one or two companies/banks that will try and stay under the radar, but when exposed they will quickly move their investment out as it will be suicidal for them to continue to invest while there is such strong public opposition.

          With the public so strongly opposed, the fracking industry will also have to factor in the equation the extra security and increased operating costs.

          Does this industry really have the legs to keep going ??

          I welcome anyone’s thoughts on this matter.

        • You are obviously new to this debate otherwise you would recall that this industry put its first shale gas application in in 2010. Please tell how much gas and how much returns have been given to investors in the last six years.
          Remind me again how much European shale gas costs to produce and how much the market will pay. Don’t forget to factor in the production cost of our Indigenous North Sea Gas and the landed price of LNG.
          The isolated few White Walkers seem to be travelling at a mighty slow pace and are armed with bagfuls of hype and empty promises leaking investors money at an alarming rate.
          Those who chose to invest on an upward price curve from 2010 clearly misread the signs of global economic slowdown and climate change and the glaringly obvious fact that OPEC would not let the US take their market.
          Very high Market price or Ponzi scheme. That is what the UK shale market is relying on.Neither seems a good bet to me. More like the small investor will end up giving his money to the larger investor who is in it for exactly that reason.

        • “Britain should push ahead with fracking, the chairman of the government’s advisory body on climate change has said.
          Lord Deben said exploiting Britain’s shale gas reserves would provide a secure source of energy for decades without wrecking the environment.”

          Speaking to the Times, he dismissed environmental concerns raised by “people on the green end”.

      • Anytime someone resorts to all caps, you know they are a dogmatic zealot who cares little for an objective viewpoint.

      • Dear Jackthelad, As you have taken so much trouble you deserve a reply.
        There are numerous learned papers predicting doom by fracking & just as many equally learned counter -arguments. We won’t get far “trading professors”. Instead, as fracking is now a mature industry in the US, we can turn from theory to facts.

        America is famously the most litigious nation in the world & Big Tobacco, Pharmaceuticals, Automobiles to name a few have been taken for millions in the law courts, in most cases quite rightly. In a nation that rushes to law over catching a cold frackers have had very few successful cases against them.

        This in spite of the of the huge environmental lobby backed by Middle Eastern & Russian oil money equally keen to sabotage America’s energy self-sufficiency .

        COULD IT BE THAT DOOMSDAY HAS NOT ARRIVED AS PREDICTED? And please note that the only major economy to have significantly reduced carbon emissions is the USA.You know how.

        As with any new & therefore under- regulated technology mistakes were made in the pioneering days just as they were with steam power, flight, inoculations etc (most of which also faced Luddite opposition). We have learned from the pioneers & regulated accordingly.

        Of course nobody wants fracking in their area, not least because of the mobs of protesters it attracts, but we should put up with a bit of inconvenience for the sake of our economy.

        We are leaving to future generations a huge & growing debt, we are paying more to service the debt than we spend on universities, and that while interest rates are at historic lows. If we wish to maintain & improve our public services we should all try to contribute what we can if only by not obstructing new technologies.

        Home produced oil & gas can play a part in boosting our economy while conversion from coal to gas on a global basis is the best hope for meaningful carbon reduction. Our country cannot afford to subsidise pointless renewables just to appease the Green lobby.

        If, however, we can achieve safe & economically successful gas production then perhaps some of the countries which between them have 1,617 NEW coal fired power stations in planning might convert just some to gas.

        As opposed to making gestures that would ACTUALLY help to reduce emissions.

        A good society depends on compromise. Many things are desirable; absolutely clean energy, but not at the cost of driving our industries overseas or our welfare services into further penury, reduction of risk , but not at the expense of blocking all progress , protection of our pretty villages but not just to allow selfish nimbys to draw their energy from “lesser areas”, the right to peaceful protest, but not to substitute mob rule for our democracy.

        So ,dear Jackthelad, if you regard use of fossil fuels as a sin on par with child abuse, this will not have much purpose. All I ask is that you & your fellow travellers accept that not all of us supporting properly regulated fracking are tax-dodging capitalists. Best wishes.

        • ROD, although we may continue to disagree on the best way forward for the UK energy industry. I thank you for your comments, you have raised some interesting points.

          We as a nation waste huge amounts of energy, this problem is one I feel should be addressed first and formost.
          As I have previously posted, I’m not against conventional Oil and Gas extraction, as long as it is extracted in an environmentally conscious way. I also am not against nuclear energy.
          I would though, much rather see renewable, carbon neutral forms of energy play an increasing role in the UK energy supply.

          There is, as always the “nimby” attitude towards having unpopular things on your doorstep, that I understand, but this is much more than that. Fracking is something that could have ramifications in communities for generations to come.

          If you were only to look at one of the many problems communities could face, let’s say home insurance. Two thirds of the UK insurance industry are already looking at imposing special conditions/clauses on the policies of people living within a 5 mike radius of fracking pads if their area is subject to possible flooding. If people living in such areas are lucky enough to obtain insurance, what will be the £ price ?
          ( source Independent Newspaper UK 9th/10th January 2016 )

          At this moment, with other forms of energy available. I still remain unconvinced that pumping up to 7 million gallons of fresh water mixed with up to 100, 000 gallons of chemicals in to the ground at pressures of up to 18,000 psi is the best way forward. I still can not except that this will not cause environmental problems. When that quantity of fluid is pumped in to the ground at such pressure, how can it ever be controlled ?

          If it does go wrong, as suggested by highly reputable, world leading organisations, what will be the human and financial cost to society then ?

          Until I am convinced otherwise, I will continue to support all other forms of energy production ( especially renewables ), but not fracking.

          As far as your point regarding litigation in the USA…. The power and influence of the fracking industry in the US is at such a leval that only an insane fool with suicidal intententions would dare take on the financial clout and might of the industry.. Other than that, possibly, only a billionaire would be sufficiently prepared to absorb the huge financial costs of a long drawn out litigation process that the industry would impose on them.

    • Thanks for your well researched posting. A credit to those in favour of shale.

      Lets look a little deeper at UK energy supply and production. The renewable figures can be found in the recent Government document.

      Click to access Renewables.pdf

      You will note in the key results it states
      Renewables’ share of electricity generation was a record 24.7 per cent in 2015, an increase of
      5.6 percentage points on the 19.1 per cent in 2014.

      On the up and prices coming down. Exciting times for those wanting sustainable investment.

      With regards to gas security,our Indigenous North Sea Gas produced 590,000,000 barrels of oil and gas in 2015, up from 545,000,000 barrels in 2014. Good news for you and me alike. With North Sea Gas half the price of European shale I presume you are keen to maximise the potential of one of the UK’s biggest industries employing 375,0000.

      I think you will agree that these industries contribute substantially to the UK economy.
      Please comment on how shale would fit in the mix,quoting production costs,and market viability.

  2. This article shows why Labor has lost so much ground. They don’t know what to do with the issue of fracking. They try to take a middle ground but that ground is no good. The moratorium has come and gone, the UK needs a real policy now. No more waffling. Fracking has become standard operating procedure in other countries and has shown to be safe. We can study it to death, but if we don’t know the answer after almost 2 million wells have been fracked, we aren’t ever going to know the answer.

    • We do know the answers to the only fracked shale gas well in the UK.

      Click to access 5055-preese-hall-shale-gas-fracturing-review-and-recomm.pdf

      A string of technical failures, a request for a traffic light threshold of 2.6M, and the British Geological Survey telling us the Bowland Shale is heavily faulted and future seismic events are likely and an FOI showing integrity issues.
      Correct me if I am wrong but that is a 100% failure rate which, considering Cuadrilla are the supposedly leading the way , raises serious doubts about any future developments.
      The first well is going to be one you invest in most. Do it the best you can. No expense spared. Prove it is safe. All permits and studies in place. Prove to the investors it makes money.
      If that’s their best what do you suppose would follow?

  3. While I agree North Sea offshore oil/gas industry is important for us in term of generating employment and energy supply line going. But in term of tax income for the Government it’s has turn into a burden rather than a revenue.


    I can see the offshore industry is fighting for its survival and that is why they are now turn against its own cbrother the onshore industry.

    • You are correct. The North Sea industry is producing less. I have covered this topic many times and all stats can be seen in my previous posts which you will have seen.
      In short. The North Sea Industry has been forced into decline through crippling taxes forcing a reduction in investment and a “wind fall tax” in 2011.The reserves are plentiful. Production costs from offshore are under half of the predicted costs of European shale.We have an experienced offshore workforce of 415,000 of which 375,000 are working and have produced 590,000,000 barrels of oil and gas last year. We have all the infrastructure in place for much more and lets not forget we also export our indigenous gas.
      The government clearly is strangling one of our biggest industries under the current fiscal regime.
      There is no shale gas industry in the UK. I doubt the Mighty Offshore Industry would recognise it has an onshore baby brother.

  4. Thanks, Jack. The fact is we don’t know. Why not allow just a few operations to work undisturbed & monitor the results? Failing that we will never know what treasures or horrors are within our grasp. Cheers!

    • Thank you Rod for your above comments.

      A fully independant, scientific study of an operational fracking well in the UK is an interesting concept.
      BUT who could we, the public trust to do that ? Certainly not the industry.

      In our densely populated country, who would agree to let their area be a test bed for such a study ? If it were to go wrong, an entire community may possibly suffer.

      What open spaces we do have are treasured by the general public, there to you will find great pressure from all people wanting to keep it that way. Unfortunately the UK does not have the vast open spaces of the US or Australia in which to conduct such an experiment.

      To find such a place in the UK that ticks all the boxes for both industry and the public would be impossible, there lies the problem.


      • Only a real commercial operation in British conditions will prove the activity safe & acceptable. If in spite of the thousands of wells drilled elsewhere without problems you consider the risks not worth taking then we reach stalemate & ,yet again, a potentially valuable technology goes overseas. It is fortunate the pioneers of the past were not so mindlessly risk averse.
        Just consider the “green” reaction to GM crops, now proved to be both safe & beneficial. The mob shouted “Frankenstein food” just as in former times they shouted “witchcraft “

  5. Reaction from Keith Taylor MEP (Greens)

    North Yorkshire County Council’s reckless fracking decision sets dangerous precedent

    Reacting to the landmark decision by North Yorkshire County Council to approve fracking for the first time in the UK for five years, Green MEP Keith Taylor said:

    “This outcome is hugely disappointing for local residents, campaigners, environmentalists and the country as a whole. The decision overlooks the scientific consensus, ignores the objections of local residents, and disregards Britain’s long-term energy needs. In approving Third Energy’s application to frack Kirby Misperton, the county council has set an extremely worrying precedent.

    Councils in North Yorkshire will now find it more difficult to reject future fracking applications. This could result in hundreds of wells across Ryedale and the industrialisation of North Yorkshire’s precious countryside. The decision is also likely to send the message that Britain is ‘up for shale’ to other local authorities in England and the wider fracking industry.

    This announcement will also be welcomed by a government so determined to fast-track this dangerous industry that it is prepared to overrule authorities that wish to remain frack-free. Let us not forget that the reason we haven’t seen fracking in the UK since 2011 is because of the environmental, and seismic, destruction the procedure caused in Blackpool.

    The UK has enormous renewable energy potential – and, in my constituency, in the South East, we have seen evidence that people have the passion, willingness and know-how to create low-carbon, people-powered energy in spite of the Government’s onslaught.

    The best chance of limiting the potentially catastrophic effects of climate change is by leaving fossil fuels in the ground. Fracking is an environmentally reckless distraction from the work that must be done to build a sustainable future based on a low-carbon, democratic energy system.”


  6. Reaction from Baroness Lynne Featherstone (Lib Dems)

    ‘Lynne Featherstone, Liberal Democrat environment spokesperson, said: “I am disappointed with the decision to push ahead with fracking despite opposition from the local community. Fracking is an unwelcome distraction at a time when we should be focusing on developing the renewable sector and investing in carbon neutral energy sources.
    “We will not be able to tackle climate change and make the Paris Agreement a reality unless we give our full attention to making our country’s energy genuinely sustainable.”’

    North Yorkshire approves UK’s first fracking tests in 5 years – FT.com

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