Legal

Kirby Misperton legal challenge moves to November

RoyalCourtsOfJustice

Friends of the Earth has confirmed that its legal challenge to the approval of fracking at Third Energy’s site  at Kirby Misperton will now be considered in late November.

The case had been expected to be decided by the end of October.

A Friends of the Earth spokesperson said the judicial review, brought jointly with Frack Free Ryedale, will be heard at the Royal Courts of Justice on The Strand in London.

It will still be what is known as a “rolled- up” hearing. This means the court will decide first whether the judicial review should go ahead. If that decision is “yes” then the full case will continue immediately.

The court has set aside two days: Tuesday 22 November and Wednesday 23 November 2016.

In May this year, North Yorkshire County Council’s planning committee voted by seven to four to approve Third Energy’s application to frack, test and produce gas from the 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 have 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.

Tony Bosworth, Friends of the Earth energy campaigner, said:

“We have major concerns about how the decision was reached by a few councillors in North Yorkshire which is why we took legal action. We’re now preparing for, and looking forward to, our day in court.”

In a statement this afternoon, Third Energy said:

“Third Energy notes that a date has now been set of 22nd and 23rd November for the Judicial Review of North Yorkshire County Council’s approval for our application to hydraulically fracture the existing KM8 well at Kirby Misperton.

“It is in the interests of both the local community and Third Energy that a decision is reached quickly. This “rolled up” hearing which will mean all the issues will be dealt with at one hearing.

“Approval for the KM8 application came after an exhaustive review by NYCC and a comprehensive, specially-convened planning committee meeting which lasted two days, and we have every confidence that the council has followed all due processes in coming to its determination.”

David Davis, from Frack Free Ryedale, said:

“We are pleased to have a date for the Judicial Review into the application to frack at Kirby Misperton and look forward to having our views represented in court.

“The North Yorkshire County Council decision to pass the application totally ignored the weight of local opposition and the views of the community, with over 4,000 letters of opposition and just a handful in favour.

“We believe that their decision was unlawful and, if fracking goes ahead in Ryedale, it will be hugely damaging to the local area in terms of our economy and more importantly residents health and well-being”.

Simon Bowens, Friends of the Earth’s Yorkshire and Humber campaigner, said:

“We have major concerns about how the decision was reached by a few councillors in North Yorkshire which is why we took legal action. We’re now preparing for, and looking forward to, our day in court.”

Third Energy comment on the number of objections

Third Energy’s spokesperson has asked us to point out the following:

“At the time of the publication of the Planning Officer’s report on 4th May the NYCC had received over 4,200 letters/emails of representation, however:

  • Eleven of these representations were not duly made
  • 342 individuals made multiple representations
  • eleven of the representations made comments not objections
  • Of the remaining 3,907 representations: 73% were representations against hydraulic fracturing in general in either Ryedale or across the country; 65% were template letters prepared by campaign organisations such as Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, 38 Degrees and Frack Free Ryedale;
  • Just under 27%, or 1,048, were clearly against aspects of the application itself, which is what the process was set up to elicit.
  • The representations were not restricted to Ryedale nor indeed North Yorkshire but came from across the United Kingdom.

Therefore even if all of the 1,048 representations specifically against the project, or the 3,907 against hydraulic fracturing in general were local, they would represent a small proportion of the population.”

On the second day of the planning meeting (23 May 2016), the planning officer, Vicky Perkin, told councillors:

“Individual representations amounted to 4,420. Of those 4,375 were objections, 9 were comments and 36 were letters of support. 20 representations did not provide an address.”

 

2 replies »

  1. Being realistic, I doubt a few days worth of barristers fees is going to trouble either side given what’s at stake Peeny.

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