AN eight-week public consultation has been launched over an energy firm's controversial planning application to frack in Ryedale.

North Yorkshire County Council said it had increased the amount of time residents and businesses have to air their views over Third Energy's scheme to extract shale gas at an existing well site near Kirby Misperton from the usual three weeks to ensure the process was thorough.

A council spokesman said: "It is essential the county council, in making a decision on this application, diligently consults and then considers the representations it receives in line with relevant planning legislation and guidance."

The consultation, which will conclude on October 14 ahead of a decision by the council in November, follows Third Energy welcoming the statement by Energy Secretary, Amber Rudd and Communities Secretary, Greg Clark calling for faster decision making on shale gas planning applications.

A spokesman for the firm said: "This will reduce uncertainty for both communities and companies investing in the country’s energy resources."

Campaign group Frack Free Ryedale Frack Free Ryedale said the demand for faster decisions on fracking applications may put undue pressure on the council.