District council objects to Ryedale fracking bid

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

The outcome of a Ryedale District Council vote to object to controversial local fracking plans sends out a “strong message” that the proposals are not wanted in the area.

A motion put forward by Councillor Fiona Farnell at a meeting of the council’s planning committee was carried, much to the delight of around 100 members of public who packed in to the council chamber.

Third Energy’s bid for permission to extract shale gas from a site in Kirby Misperton, north of Malton, has proved highly contentious and North Yorkshire County Council could now determine whether the plans are approved by the end of next month.

A decision was due to be taken last year but was postponed.

Speaking after the Ryedale District Council meeting which was held last night, Coun Farnell told The Yorkshire Post: “I was pleased that my fellow councillors felt as strongly as I did. It was the right thing to do for Ryedale and hopefully the county council will take notice and go in the right direction.

“I am hopeful they will take this response very seriously and give it a reasonable amount of weight. I think it sends out a strong message that Ryedale District Council doesn’t want fracking.”

In a statement, Third Energy said the outcome of the meeting did not necessarily indicate how the county council would view the application.

The firm said: “Third Energy will review the Ryedale District Council Planning Committee proceedings to understand on what planning grounds it has reached this conclusion. It is important to remember that Ryedale District Council is only one of many statutory consultees on this application, whose views will be taken into account by North Yorkshire County Council.

“Ryedale District Council, as a statutory consultee, is not expected to duplicate the decision making role of North Yorkshire County Council, the competent and experienced Mineral Planning Authority.”

A spokesman for North Yorkshire County Council said Ryedale District Council’s decision would be taken on board as part of the responses to its consultation and that the planning application was unlikely to be determined before April 29.

Local campaigners were buoyed by Ryedale’s decision.

Friends of the Earth’s Yorkshire campaigner, Simon Bowens, said: “This is great news for the people of Ryedale. The councillors have listened to the people they represent who are rightly concerned about the impacts fracking could have on their health, environment and local economy.

“We now call upon the North Yorkshire councillors to reject the application when it is put before them next month.”

Thirsk and Malton Conservative MP Kevin Hollinrake said he understands the strength of feeling and that he is hopeful that a decision is made that is “appropriate for the community”.

Mr Hollinrake said: “I always felt this is something we should consider, only if it is properly regulated and properly planned. If we can get that right then I am confident we can do it well and safely and without impacting on house prices and all the other things people are concerned about.”