PROTESTERS have called for changes to a plan on HGV movements to Third Energy’s fracking site in North Yorkshire to be made in public.

Frack Free Ryedale are calling on any proposed deviations from Third Energy’s Transport Management Plan to be made by county councillors in public, rather than by council officers in private.

The group says the company has stated its wish to use any available access route to their existing KM8 well site in Kirby Misperton, rather than the route identified in the original planning application.

They say if approved, the amendments will lead to alternative access routes being used, which will have a negative impact on villages and communities on those other routes from the A64 or A170 through Ryedale, including Great Habton, Amotherby, Ryton and Great Barugh.

Campaigners are particularly concerned about Third Energy’s plan to use lay-bys as holding areas for heavy goods vehicles and the use of alternative roads if its designated route is blocked.

They say the traffic management plan does not identify any restriction on the times of HGV movements, or any limits on the number of lorry journeys during the production stage of the well.

Third Energy says the drilling of the KM8 well in 2013 used the same vehicle routes as they are proposing and was successfully undertaken without any complaint.

Ian Conlan, of Frack Free Ryedale, says: “Already, residents of Kirby Misperton, who are worried about the safety of crossing the road for the toddler group or passengers waiting at the bus stop on the roundabout, have had their concerns ignored.

“Now this traffic plan opens the way for unassessed alternative routes through narrow lanes and small villages to be used by hundreds of enormous HGVs.

"There is also no limit placed on the daily number of HGVs or the size of convoys, which raises serious questions about safety.

“We believe that the council has a duty to ensure the safety of residents and this transport plan has so many ‘alternative routes’ and new proposals that this cannot be guaranteed. It needs to go back before the planning committee for proper scrutiny rather than be slipped through the backdoor in a delegated officer decision.”

A spokesman for Third Energy said: “The KM8 well site has existed for over 20 years without traffic incident, and co-exists alongside Flamingo Land.

“Ahead of operations at its existing Kirby Misperton well site, Third Energy must prepare, and has submitted, a traffic management plan to be approved by North Yorkshire County Council.

“During the development of this plan Third Energy consulted with the police and local community, to ensure its operations are safe and have minimal impact upon the local area.

The consultation response from NYCC highways said ‘There are no local highway authority objections to the proposed development.”