The High Court has reserved its judgment on a legal challenge by residents of a North Yorkshire village against one of the first planning applications to carry out fracking in England.
Locals from Kirby Misperton in the Rydale district are asking a judge to block a decision to allow hydraulic fracturing near their homes.
In a joint landmark application with environmental group Friends of the Earth, they urged Mrs Justice Lang, sitting in London, to rule the decision “unlawful” and quash it.
After a hearing over two days, the judge announced she was “reserving judgement in this difficult case”.
The lead campaigners, Rev Jackie Cray and David Davis, were in court, and demonstrators outside carried placards demanding “Protect our health - Say no to fracking”.
Fracking company Third Energy was granted permission by North Yorkshire County Council in May to frack quarter of a mile from Mrs Cray’s home.
The Frack Free Ryedale campaigners, who have raised more than £7,000 to fund their application for judicial review, have accused the local planning authority of failing properly to assess the climate change impact of burning shale gas obtained by fracking at nearby Knapton power station..
They and FoE also say the council is failing to secure long-term financial protection in the ‘’likely’’ event that fracking will cause environmental damage.
Nathalie Lieven QC, appearing for Third Energy, rejected the allegations and said there would be extensive monitoring to prevent pollution problems, and proper long-term protections would be put in place.
Ms Lieven said one could not say “something is impossible” but the chances of the dangers - referred to by David Wolfe QC, representing the anti-frackers - occurring were “infinitesimal”.