Fracking in Yorkshire approved by the High Court

Reported in Business Green today (site may be subscription only)

Business Green story by Madeleine Cuff:

“Campaigners and local residents lose bid to halt fracking in Ryedale, with judge ruling the issue of climate change had been considered in initial council decision

A group of campaigners and local residents hoping to stop plans to frack in the Yorkshire village of Kirby Misperton had their hopes dashed today after a High Court judge dismissed their legal challenge for a reversal of the decision.

Frack Free Ryedale and Friends of the Earth were hoping to overturn the decision of North Yorkshire County Council, which approved a planning application from Third Energy to conduct fracking activities in May. The campaigners argued the council had failed to consider the environmental impact of burning gas on climate change when it granted approval for the scheme.

But Mrs Justice Lang this morning ruled climate change had been considered as a factor in the council’s decision, and that therefore Third Energy can go ahead with its plans to frack in Kirby Misperton, one of only two sites in the country to have successfully gained permission.

In response to the ruling Friends of the Earth campaigner Donna Hume said climate change was “barely mentioned” at the council meeting when the decision to green light the fracking bid was taken.

Meanwhile campaigners from Greenpeace warned governments and energy companies not to underestimate the public opposition to fracking. “Fracking doesn’t make environmental or economic sense, so it’s no wonder people objected to the county council giving the thumbs up to fracking without properly considering climate change or financial security,” said Greenpeace campaigner Hannah Martin. “Local government has a duty to represent their communities, and faced with so much local opposition to fracking, they should be more rigorous in scrutinising the negative impacts.”

Third Energy welcomed the ruling, and stressed it would conduct any fracking activity in a “safe, discreet and environmentally sensitive way”. “We are confident that we will prove to the local community that their elected representatives were right to grant this permission,” the firm’s chief executive Rasik Valand said in a statement.

Having been delayed by the court case, Third Energy is now expected to start its fracking operations in Yorkshire next year. Friends of the Earth were ordered to pay £10,000 in court costs, while the local campaigners were ordered to pay £5,000.”

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