A HUGELY anticipated meeting to decide whether to grant permission for a fracking test site is due to take place next month.

On Friday, May 20, North Yorkshire County Council's planning committee will be considering an application from Third Energy involving testing for shale gas at a borehole at Kirby Misperton in North Yorkshire and ultimately producing gas from the well. 

Last week Third Energy received permits from the Environment Agency, which set out conditions covering the fracking process at the existing borehole.

A spokesperson for North Yorkshire County Council said: “The county council is currently finalising its report about the application, with reference to legal counsel, following thorough consideration of detailed information provided by the applicant, along with responses from statutory consultees and over 4,000 representations.

“The county council recognises that there is likely to be significant public interest in the committee meeting and is therefore making all necessary arrangements to ensure the meeting is managed safely and effectively.”

Ian Conlan, Malton resident and member of Frack Free Ryedale said: “This is a hugely important application for everybody in Yorkshire.

“Huge swathes of the county have been licensed for fracking, despite widespread opposition, but it will be county councillors that decide on whether to allow fracking a foothold.

“Government ministers have already indicated they wish to progress large scale fracking applications for multiple wells after pushing to get exploratory fracking approved locally.

“The public should be under no illusions about the huge impact that very noisy and intrusive 24 hour, 7 day a week drilling and fracking would have on the area and people's wellbeing.”

Friends of the Earth’s Yorkshire campaigner, Simon Bowens, said: “In a month’s time, North Yorkshire County councillors have the opportunity to stand up for the thousands of people, numerous parish councils and Ryedale District Council by rejecting fracking at Kirby Misperton.

“People are rightly concerned about the increasing evidence of risks to their health, local environment, economy and global climate from fracking. It’s time for North Yorkshire to listen to the people they represent and say no to fracking.”

Rasik Valand, chief executive of Third Energy said: “We have taken every possible step in this application to minimise disruption to the local community, as well as ensure that our plans will not impact the local environment. To be clear, the programme detailed in his application is actually of a smaller scale and shorter time than the drilling of the KM8 well 2013.

“The hydraulic fracturing and testing is a key step towards determining the viability of producing gas from this hybrid sandstone and shale formation in North Yorkshire.”