Fracking gets go-ahead in UK for first time since 2011 as North Yorkshire council approves plans – Telegraph.co.uk

8 months ago Comments Off on Fracking gets go-ahead in UK for first time since 2011 as North Yorkshire council approves plans – Telegraph.co.uk

Fracking will “devastate” Yorkshire by industrialising the countryside, opponents have claimed, as they urged councillors to deal a major blow to the Government’s hopes of developing a UK shale gas industry by rejecting a crucial planning application.

North Yorkshire County Council’s planning committee heard evidence from dozens of residents and campaigners opposed to plans by Third Energy to frack for shale gas at a site near Kirby Misperton in Ryedale.

Approval, which could be granted when the committee meets again on Monday, would allow fracking to take place in the UK for the first time since 2011.

John Ashton OBE, a former diplomat who served as the UK Government’s climate envoy from 2006 to 2012, urged councillors to reject the proposal because fracking was incompatible with tackling climate change and said the Yorkshire decision would have national significance.

“If the industry is frustrated here…. it will find it ever harder to convince its investors it has a future in the UK,” he said.

Local councillors told the committee that fracking would “devastate Ryedale” and lead to the “industrialisation of our countryside”.

Baroness McIntosh, the former Conservative MP for Thirsk and Malton, argued the development of the fracking industry would see the “green fields and pleasant land of England” transformed into “an industrial site on a massive scale”.

Local residents also raised fears that fracking would cause noise pollution, lead to dangerous levels of traffic and deter tourists.

“Bad publicity does not fill hotel rooms, holiday cottages or spin the turnstiles of country houses,” a hotelier, Tony Finn, said.

Consultants giving evidence on behalf of campaign group Frack Free Ryedale also claimed that there had been insufficient environmental studies carried out to assess the impact of the fracking on great crested newts and bats in the area.

Evidence in support of the application is due to be heard on Monday before councillors make their decision.

Fracking gets go-ahead in UK for first time since 2011 as North Yorkshire council approves plans – Telegraph.co.uk