York & North Yorkshire

Kirby Misperton fracking plan set for council approval

The Third Energy site in Kirby Misperton Image copyright Third Energy
Image caption An application to frack for gas near Kirby Misperton was lodged in May 2015

Plans to frack on a site near the North York Moors National Park have been recommended for approval despite objections from campaigners.

Third Energy wants planning permission to extract shale gas near Kirby Misperton in Ryedale.

North Yorkshire County Council said permission should be granted for testing on deposits first identified in the area in 2013.

Campaigners said it had "dismissed the serious risks of fracking".

Third Energy said it had taken "every possible step" to ensure the plan will not impact the environment.

They added: "Third Energy has been drilling wells and producing gas safely and discreetly from this site in Kirby Misperton for over 20 years and we will continue to maintain the same standards in the future."

'Popping champagne corks'

An application to frack was submitted to the council last year. A consultation on the plans received 4,000 representations from objectors.

A report to the planning committee recommended the project should go ahead. It will be considered on 20 May.

It said Third Energy's plans would help to provide for the nation's energy needs and safeguarding measures would be put in place to protect the environment.

Campaigners have raised concerns fracking would lead to the pollution of ground water and the possibility of triggering earthquakes.

Simon Bowens, from Friends of the Earth, said the council should listen to the thousands of residents who had objected.

Protest planned

"While it is disappointing that planning officers have dismissed the serious risks of fracking in Ryedale, Third Energy shouldn't be popping champagne corks yet," he said.

"North Yorkshire councillors have been presented with clear evidence that Third Energy's application could harm local wildlife, local business, people's health and the environment."

Fracking is a technique for extracting gas or oil trapped between layers of rock by forcing the layers open using water under high pressure.

Last month, the Environment Agency granted the energy firm a permit to frack at the site.

Campaigners have pledged to stage a protest and Dame Vivienne Westwood is expected to be among them.

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