Campaigners threaten legal action over fracking decision

Campaigners have written to North Yorkshire County Council, threatening to take legal action over its decision to approve Third Energy's plans for fracking near the village of Kirby Misperton.

Friends of the Earth and local residents group Frack Free Ryedale said the decision was “unlawful” on the grounds that the impact on climate change was “not properly considered”.

Last month, the council’s planning committee voted 7 to 4 to approve Third Energy’s plans to trial hydraulic fracturing at an existing exploratory well. Energy and Utilities Alliance chief executive Mike Foster told edie’s sister title Utility Week the decision was “massive in terms of the future of the shale industry”.

However campaigners have said the committee failed to consider the impact on climate change of gas extracted at the well via the fracking process being burnt at Third Energy’s nearby power station. They said they may seek a judicial review if they do not get a satisfactory response from the council.

Friends of the Earth’s Yorkshire campaigner Simon Bowens said: “A mere six months after the Paris climate change agreement, North Yorkshire County Council decided to support a dirty, dangerous, fossil fuel industry.

“They side-stepped the wishes of the people they represent, the powerful testimonies presented to them over two days, and their legal duties to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This was undemocratic, reckless and Friends of the Earth believes it could be unlawful as well.”

North Yorkshire Council has yet to comment on the letter.

Last week the chief operating officer of IGas told Utility Week he believes UK shale gas should be commercially viable, if British wells can achieve the same flow rates as those in the US.

Tom Grimwood

This article appeared first in edie’s sister title, Utility Week

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