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County Council Approves North Yorkshire Fracking Application
The first application for a fracking operation in England since a ban was imposed on the controversial practice in 2012 has been approved by councillors in North Yorkshire.
Despite receiving 4375 objections and only 36 letters in support, the Planning Committee in North Yorkshire voted seven to four in favour of the application from Third Energy. The company will now be able to carry out tests for shale gas at Kirby Misperton in Ryedale. An existing two-mile-deep well established in 2013 close to the North York Moors National Park will be used for the process.
While recommending approval, planning officers acknowledged the number of objections received. They did however point to “national policy support for the development of a shale gas industry in this country” which was a material consideration in the decision to support the application.
North Yorkshire council’s chief executive Richard Flinton, told The Independent; “This has been a very difficult decision for the council to make and we know it is a difficult decision for the people of this county. We are proud of our beautiful county which attracts so many visitors and maintains a thriving tourism industry. We have no intention of jeopardising those qualities and our rural industries and livelihoods. For that reason, the planning conditions must be fully discharged and monitored. In this case there has already been drilling for gas on this site over many years.”
Hundreds of protestors attended the meeting in Northallerton to voice concerns. The last fracking to take place in the UK was halted in 2011 when works on the Fylde coast were thought to be the source of a number of minor earthquakes in the area. Since then, councillors in Lancashire have rejected two applications which are now subject to appeal.