Anti-fracking campaigners have launched a fundraising drive as they wait to discover if they have been successful in their request to seek a judicial review against the approved plans to extract shale gas from the Kirby Misperton site in North Yorkshire.
Ahead of what could be costly legal proceedings brought by members of Frack Free Ryedale and Friends of the Earth against North Yorkshire County Council, campaigners said they need to raise a “substantial amount”.
Members of the Ryedale group are incensed by the council’s decision to approve with conditions Third Energy’s application to frack at the site near Malton and they staged what they claimed was the biggest ever anti-fracking march held in Yorkshire through the streets of York at the weekend.
On Saturday, hundreds of demonstrators walked from Clifford’s Tower to York Minster, where they listened to speeches from members of local community groups and other anti-fracking campaigners.
The grounds on which Frack Free Ryedale and Friends of the Earth are seeking legal action is an accusation that North Yorkshire County Council failed to properly consider the impact on climate change, or secure long term financial protection against environmental damage, when granting permission to the highly controversial plans at the end of a two-day hearing in May.
One of the campaigners, Jackie Cray, a retired vicar from Kirby Misperton, said: “Concerned residents scrutinised the application and some 4,375 people submitted sound evidence to the Planning Committee against the planning application from Third Energy.
“With 14 parish councils, five town councils and Ryedale District Council against the application or seeking a moratorium and despite all these objections, the seven members of the County Council who passed the planning permission have let the people of North Yorkshire down by failing to address these crucial concerns.”
Announcing the launch of the fundraising campaign, David Davis, who is a retired chartered surveyor from Hovingham, said: “With the possibility of a judicial review, the campaign has now moved up a gear and we need to raise a substantial amount to fund activities going forward.
“We would like to thank the considerable generosity of our members and supporters to date, but we need to gain additional support to stop this unnecessary industrialisation in Ryedale and North Yorkshire.”
Mr Davis added: “We hope people will recognise the value of what we are trying to do to protect Ryedale from fracking and support us.”
North Yorkshire County Council’s planning committee voted by a margin of seven to four in favour of Third Energy’s application at the end of a hearing during which they heard from more than 80 speakers. Since then, the council has maintained that it acted appropriately.
A council spokesman reiterated in a statement to issued to The Yorkshire Post yesterday: “North Yorkshire County Council’s planning committee gave proper regard to all material planning considerations before approving the application by Third Energy to undertake fracking for shale gas in the vicinity of Kirby Misperton.”
A spokesman for Third Energy added: “Third Energy has been drilling and producing gas safely and discreetly in North Yorkshire for over two decades, and we will continue to maintain the same standards in the future.”