North Yorkshire County Council’s planning committee has given the go-ahead for Third Energy to undertake fracking for shale gas in the vicinity of Kirby Misperton.
The committee has sat for two days and listened to over 100 speakers before deliberating the planning officer’s report and recommendation to accept Third Energy’s application. This has been a long and taxing process which the committee has undertaken with very careful consideration of all the issues raised.
Today the County Council has taken a single decision on a single site in North Yorkshire which already has existing conventional drilling for gas on it.
The planning committee say they are satisfied that in this particular application, mitigation of the effects of the development with regard to safeguarding the natural environment, protected species and habitats, the amenity of local residents, the protection of ground and surface water quality and traffic management can be achieved through the discharge of the planning conditions.
The County Council say that they are very aware that this is a controversial proposal of major sensitivity and complexity and that many objections have been expressed about significant and adverse impacts upon the environment and upon climate change.
The Council has said that it is proud that North Yorkshire is a beautiful place to live in, to work in and to visit and is determined that it will remain so. This decision does not change that fact.
Local councils are required to work within the national policy framework that indigenous oil and gas remain key to energy security while facilitating the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. This must be a material consideration as is the need for economic growth and development that will provide jobs and sustainable communities.
Nevertheless North Yorkshire did not choose to be the first authority to make a decision on fracking within this policy framework.
The local circumstances associated with each application remain the overriding factor in planning decision-making. The County Council planning committee has come to a decision therefore based on the particulars of this site. This decision does not have a bearing on future applications.
Richard Flinton, North Yorkshire’s chief executive said:
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. The decision taken today does not have a bearing on future decisions. Each application of this nature will be decided upon based on its own merits.