Friends of the Earth and Frack Free Ryedale have been told that a decision on their legal challenge to the approval of Third Energy fracking plans will be made before the end of October.
Last month, the organisations applied to the High Court for a judicial review of the planning permission granted by North Yorkshire County Council for fracking at the existing KM8 well at Kirby Misperton.
The council’s planning committee voted by seven to four to approve the application to frack, test and produce gas from KM8 well for up to nine years. There were 4,375 objections to the application and 36 letters in support.
Friends of the Earth and Frack Free Ryedale argued that the council’s decision was unlawful because it:
- Failed properly to assess climate change by not considering the environmental impact of burning gas from KM8 at a nearby power station at Knapton;
- Failed to secure long-term financial protection against any environmental damage.
The decision on whether to allow a judicial review is usually announced within a few weeks of the application.
Today the groups heard that their case would be dealt with as a ‘rolled up’ hearing by the end of October.
This means a High Court judge will decide whether to grant permission for the case to go-ahead at the same time as deciding on the arguments.
Rolled-up hearings are used in a variety of circumstances, particularly for urgent cases or where challenges are straightforward and won’t take long to argue.
The court will begin by considering permission for the judicial review and, if that is granted, go straight ahead to the full hearing.
Simon Bowens, Friends of the Earth’s Yorkshire and Humber campaigner, said:
“The decision by seven North Yorkshire county councillors to allow fracking in Kirby Misperton was against the wishes of the local community, the district council and hundreds of local businesses who have clearly stated they don’t want fracking.”
“We also believe the decision to allow this dirty, risky proposal was unlawful and eagerly await the opportunity to make this case in the High Court later in the autumn.”
David Davis, from Frack Free Ryedale, said:
“This announcement takes us a step further towards the opportunity to challenge the North Yorkshire County Planning decision.
“Feelings against fracking and the County Council’s decision are still running high in Ryedale and North Yorkshire and we continue to campaign against this hugely invasive industry that, should it go ahead, would bring about the industrialisation of our county and risk the health and well-being of local people”.