Anti-fracking campaigners in North Yorkshire have vowed to continue to resist plans to frack at Kirby Misperton, despite what looks like a delay following the discovery of a legal loophole.
Under the Infrastructure Act, companies are required to get final consent from the Secretary of State for Energy before starting to frack. But it has emerged that the act covered only wells drilled from April 2015.
Third Energy’s application, currently with the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), is to frack the KM8 well at Kirby Misperton, drilled in 2013. Technically, the company did not need ministerial consent.
The loophole was closed with a directive laid before parliament. But as a result of the loophole, BEIS suggested the approval of Third Energy’s fracking plans had been delayed and was not imminent.
In a statement today, the company said:
“Third Energy has followed the regulatory regime for associated hydraulic fracturing as required by the Infrastructure Act of 2015. We are very conscious of the obligations under this regime and have done everything that is required by regulations.”
“We have all the required approvals from the regulators for associated hydraulic fracturing and we await the Secretary of State’s consent.”
Steve Mason, who lives within two miles of the KM8 site, said:
“It looks like this legal loophole will delay the frack for a few weeks which is very welcome over the Christmas period and means that local people can sleep peacefully over the holidays.
“However this is just a stay of execution – we will continue to fight the industry which is unwelcome and unwanted in Ryedale. The anti-fracking lobby continues to grow locally and nationally and we will not give up the fight until this short-sighted Tory government sees sense and withdraws it support for this dirty industry.”
Ryedale District Councillor, Di Keal, said:
“In a week when it comes to light that Third Energy has already breached environmental regulations before it has even started fracking at KM8, it now appears that the Government has also not adhered to its own legislation and has been forced to scramble about to alter it to fit its obsession with driving the fracking industry, despite widespread and growing public opposition.
“In this few weeks respite I would urge more people to write to Greg Clarke MP and ask him not to give the final go ahead for fracking in Ryedale. The government is treating people like guinea pigs by inflicting an industry on us that has so many health and environmental risks associated with it, instead of pursuing clean, sustainable energy sources.
“We are not prepared to stand back and let them industrialise our county and ride rough shod over local democracy in this way.”