UK’s North Yorkshire Council Agrees To Third Energy Fracking Plans

Yorkshire Protestors

Protestors seen in Yorkshire campaigning against Third Energy’s plans.

A Third Energy-led fracking operation in North Yorkshire was approved for the first time in five years after the North Yorkshire County Council gave the bid by the UK firm the go-ahead to extract shale gas at a site near the village of Kirby Misperton in the county of Ryedale.

The decision was made after seven out of 11 members on the country council’s planning committee in Northallerton voted in favor of the application following a two-day deliberation.

The plan was approved by the councillors despite objections from the majority of representations. Out of 4,420 individual representations, only 36 were in favor of the application, Vicky Perkin, council planning officer, revealed.

Perkin said that there was a “national policy support for the development of a shale gas industry in this country and this is an important material consideration.”

Objections from people opposed to the plan were heard during the two days of deliberations. The result was met with boos and jeers among the protesters, some shouting, “we say no,” “shame on you” and “you will be held accountable.”

Fracking, or hydrauling fracturing, is a type of drilling used commercially in order to extract oil and natural gas. It is used heavily in the US and Canada but is struggling to make headway in Europe, especially in western regions.

Opponents of the project worry about water contamination, earthquakes, noise, as well as traffic pollution caused by fracking. It was also said that fracking could harm the region’s tourism and endanger bats and bees near the site of drilling.

Environmentalists warn that pursuing new sources of gas—fossil fuels— through fracking is not compatible with efforts to tackle climate change.

No fracking has taken place in the UK since 2011 when tests on the Flyde coast were found to have been the probable cause of minor earthquakes in Lancashire, northwest England where Cuadrilla Resources was exploring for shale gas.

The ban was lifted in 2012 when the British government decided to continue the exploration of its shale gas reserves.

Dr Adam Marshall, the acting director general of the British Chambers of Commerce said in a statement, that this is a “much-needed victory for pragmatisms, in the face of the serious energy security problems Britain faces.”

“Fracking has the potential to play a part in solving the UK’s energy crunch, and create new energy-related jobs in many areas,” Marshall added

Tory councilor Peter Sowray, leader of the planning committee, explained that there was not going to be “hundreds of wells” and emphasized that his committee’s approval was limited to work on site.

Third Energy plans to have a lower impact over other fracking operations through the use of a 37-meter high rig with a noise barrier of shipping containers. The operations will only last for eight weeks and it assured that there would be no night-time or Sunday drilling.

Companies carrying out fracking will have to pay £100,000 pounds to the local community per well plus 1 per cent of profits.

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