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Fracking green light for Yorkshire site

North Yorkshire County Council’s (NYCC) planning committee has given the go ahead for Third Energy to undertake fracking of shale gas at Kirby Misperton.

The news follows on from Environment Agency approval of the operation in April.

NYCC has said that its committee heard evidence from over 100 speakers over two days before reaching its decision to approve the planning application.

In a statement, the council said: “The planning committee is 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 council is 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 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.”

NYCC chief executive Richard Flinton added: “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.”

In response, Third Energy chief executive Rasik Valand said: “First I would like to thank North Yorkshire County Council for making this positive determination. I know that this not a decision that they have taken lightly, especially given the technical complexities and number of presentations made. I would also like to thank the planning department and officer for their professionalism and scrutiny. And, finally I would like to thank the whole Third Energy team, including our many expert consultants, for their work on this application over the last two years.

“This approval, is not a victory, but is a huge responsibility. We will have to deliver on our commitment, made to the committee and to the people of Ryedale, to undertake this operation safely and without impacting on the local environment.”

Valand said that work would not begin on site immediately as Third Energy will be working on the conditions set out by NYCC and the Environment Agency and the operation will also require final consent from the secretary of state before operations get underway.

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