Third Energy has had its application to frack for shale gas in North Yorkshire approved by the County Council.
The site is the KM8 well at Kirby Misperton gas field, which Third Energy drilled in 2013. Samples were taken to assess the hydrocarbon potential and analysis of the area prompted the company to apply for permission to use hydraulic fracturing to stimulate gas flow from the sandstone and shale sections in order to assess the commercial potential of the site.
The Council’s planning committee said it sat through one hundred speakers for two days before coming to its controversial decision, which could see the first fracking take place in the UK since it stopped in 2011.
Its chief executive Richard Flinton 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.”
Third Energy’s chief executive Rasik Valand said he saw the decision as a ‘huge responsibility, not a victory’. He said that there won’t be any activities in the near future, as there were still hurdles to get over before receiving final consent from the Secretary of State.
Valand said: “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.”