THE operations director of an energy company about to commence fracking in North Yorkshire has retired.

John Dewar, 65, has stepped down from his high profile role with Third Energy, which is based near Malton in Ryedale, North Yorkshire.

It is understood Mr Dewar retired to spend more time with his family at his home in Scotland.

Alan Linn, who joined the company in August, is now his replacement.

Fracking was expected to start at Kirby Misperton in December last year, but it is understood the operation has been delayed as Third Energy waits for final approval of its fracking plan from the government.

Commenting on Mr Dewar’s retirement from Third Energy, chief executive Rasik Valand said: “As planned for some time, John Dewar retired as Third Energy’s Operations Director at the end of October 2017.

“He has agreed to stay with the company as a consultant with responsibility for the KM-8 hydraulic fracturing programme in Kirby Misperton.

"John and I have worked closely together since the company started and I am grateful that we are able to continue to call on his expertise.”

Campaigners opposing Third Energy’s fracking operation, Kirby Misperton Protection Camp (KMPC), said in a statement: “This latest change does not reassure us that they are fit to carry out this experimental operation.”