Council bans fracking

An anti-fracking poster on the garden gate of a house in Kirby Misperton. Picture: Anna Gowthorpe
An anti-fracking poster on the garden gate of a house in Kirby Misperton. Picture: Anna Gowthorpe

A council district where an energy company hopes to carry out fracking has agreed a five year moratorium on the controversial mining method.

Ryedale Council passed the measure last night after councillors expressed concern about the possible impacts of fracking on health and the environment.

The district has become the focus of the battle over fracking in Yorkshire since Third Energy applied to use the method at a site near Kirby Misperton.

That application will be decided by North Yorkshire County Council so the impact of the Ryedale ‘ban’ will be limited.

However, as an interested party Ryedale Council will be consulted and the motion passed by councillors last night appears to bind the authority into outright opposition.

Cllr John Clark, who proposed the motion, said: “I am delighted with the result of tonight’s vote, despite all the efforts of the council to stop it being debated for nearly a year.

“It is a disgrace that the council has not until this point realised the potential impact of fracking on the economy, environment and health of the people of Ryedale.”

The energy industry has repeatedly insisted fracking does not pose a risk to health or the environment.

The Government has given enthusiastic backing to fracking as a way of securing a new source of domestic energy and to create jobs.

A Third Energy spokesman said: “There are no grounds for the Ryedale District Council vote. Responsible and internationally respected bodies and experts including Public Health England, the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management and the Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering, have all concluded that the risks of fracking can be managed in a well regulated environment, which we have in the UK.

“Gas has been produced safely and securely, in Ryedale for over two decades.

“We trust that the North Yorkshire County Council, which is the responsible planning authority, will consider all the facts before it makes its decision on our application at Kirby Misperton.

“We will continue engaging with the local communities to inform of the plans, and how any potential risks are managed to ensure minimum impact to the public and the environment.”