'˜Outrage' as Ryedale residents lose landmark case to prevent fracking in Yorkshire

Campaigners in North Yorkshire have lost their landmark High Court challenge against one of the first planning applications to carry out fracking in England.

Residents of Kirby Misperton in Ryedale, join anti-fracking campaigners outside the Royal Courts of Justice

Residents from the village of Kirby Misperton, in Ryedale, were supported by environmental group Friends of the Earth in a bid to block a decision to allow hydraulic fracturing near their homes.

But Mrs Justice Lang, sitting in London, dismissed their application for judicial review in a decision which allows fracking to go ahead.

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One of the lead campaigners, Reverend Jackie Cray, said: “I’m obviously disappointed in the verdict but it doesn’t end here. There is no support in North Yorkshire for this risky industry.”

Fracking company Third Energy was granted permission by North Yorkshire County Council in May 2016 to frack just a quarter of a mile from Mrs Cray’s home.

She said: “We will continue to campaign on behalf of local communities for the sake of our children and their children’s health and wellbeing, and the long-term prosperity of our area.

“We are not prepared for Ryedale to become a sacrifice zone for the sake of industry greed.”

Donna Hume, Friends of the Earth campaigner, said: “The High Court has ruled that fracking can go ahead in beautiful Yorkshire, and we must rise to this latest challenge.

“The judge found that North Yorkshire councillors had assessed the impacts of climate change.

“But we know that climate change was barely mentioned at that crucial council meeting where the decision to allow fracking was taken, and more damningly, that councillors didn’t have the information about the total carbon emissions produced from the fracking project.

“Residents have said they will continue to do everything they can to peacefully prevent Barclays’ owned Third Energy from fracking, and we will be standing with them.”

Residents in Ryedale said they were “outraged” at the decision.

David Davis, one of the residents behind the legal action said: “We respect Mrs Justice Lang’s decision whose duty was to carefully interpret the law as it stands today. Our greatest disappointment is with the government, our own MP, and an industry who are conspiring to force fracking on unwilling communities with the threat of overruling any councils who refuse planning permission.”

He added: “Our own County Council failed to respect residents wishes and those of the district council, five town councils and 14 parish councils in Ryedale who objected, and did not even have the courage to use the authority’s own draft Minerals and Waste Plan as a basis to throw out this application.”

Mr David said the decision would “open the floodgates to other fracking companies”.

Jackie Cray, who also took part in the legal action and lives half a mile from the Third Energy site, said she was “devastated” that the views of local people had been ignored.

But she added: “We will not be defeated though, because we hold firm in the belief, supported by a huge amount of evidence, that fracking is wrong, and will continue to campaign against this ‘stop-gap’ industry that the Government is trying to force on communities across the country.”