The sound barrier at Third Energy’s would-be fracking site at Kirby Misperton in North Yorkshire came down today. This follows the withdrawal of other equipment over the past month.
The sound screen, built from scaffolding and shipping containers covered in tarpaulin, was built in October 2017.
Opponents of the operation filmed today from the air and the boundary to show the emptying out of the site.
Third Energy told residents on 8 November 2017 it was ready to frack the KM8 well. But since then it has been waiting for the Government’s final decision on fracking consent.
On 25 January this year, the Business Secretary, Greg Clark, requested an assessment of Third Energy’s financial resilience.
On 6 February, the company said it was releasing some of the equipment from the site because of the delay. But it said
“We will maintain the majority of the operational equipment onsite and continue all of the monitoring requirements set by the regulator.”
Last week, campaigners against fracking claimed victory against Third Energy over the KM8 well and the Kirby Misperton Protection Camp, about a mile outside the village, announced it was closing. A camp on roadside verges near site entrance is to remain.
Despite the emptying of the site, Third Energy said it would be back. In a statement today, it said:
“On completion of the approval process we will finalise our operational arrangements and move forwards with hydraulic fracture stimulation and production of the KM8 well.”
“Planning errors will lead to more delays”
The campaign group, Frack Free Ryedale, has said Mr Clark cannot grant final fracking consent for KM8 because not all the planning conditions are in place.
Third Energy has asked North Yorkshire County Council for a screening opinion on plans to extend the life of a pipeline that will take fracked gas from KM8 to the Knapton electricity generating station (DrillOrDrop).
The screening opinion is the first stage of the planning process and decides whether the full planning application should include an environmental impact assessment. The council’s target date to reply to Third Energy is 6 March 2018. The company is then expected to submit a full application. The existing planning consent for the pipeline expires in May 2018.
Ryedale District Councillor, Di Keal, said:
“This is just the latest in a catalogue of errors and poor practice that we have seen from Third Energy and yet another reason why they can’t be trusted as a ‘safe operator’.
“The Secretary of State must take this omission into consideration when giving the final permission to frack and we hope he will see that following a whole host of mistakes, major health and safety breaches and severe financial losses, this company can not be trusted to frack in Ryedale.”
Russell Scott, from Frack Free Ryedale said:
“It is essential that local people make their feelings heard on this. They should write to the County Council asking that Third Energy be required to prepare a full environmental impact assessment before the planning committee consider the application.
“It is not sufficient to accept that this is simply a renewal of an earlier permission as the pipeline, originally constructed in 1994 with a design life of 15 will now be used to transport fracked gas until 2035 therefore exceeding its initial limit by 26 years.
“It is simply not acceptable for NYCC or Minister Greg Clark to allow Third Energy to proceed with fracking or to continue using this pipeline until a full environmental impact assessment has been completed. Third Energy intend to use this pipeline which is no longer fit for purpose to carry unknown levels of potentially lethal and highly toxic H2S gas through our communities.”
Updated 6/3/2018 with comments on Third Energy’s pipeline plans