Catalogue of errors blamed for collapse of Yorkshire fracking bid

The existing brownfield site at Kirby Misperton.
The existing brownfield site at Kirby Misperton.
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A CATALOGUE of errors led to the withdrawal of the first application to use the controversial fracking mining method in Yorkshire, it has emerged.

In a letter covering nine pages, North Yorkshire County Council raised a series of concerns over the proposal to carry out fracking at Kirby Misperton, in Ryedale.

In all, Third Energy failed to properly complete 13 sections of the application form including details of what would be in the fracking fluid pumped underground, a flood risk assessment or how the site would be restored once it had finished.

Third Energy has insisted there were only a “small number of minor errors” and that key information had been provided but planning officers wanted it to be presented differently.

According to the county council’s letter, obtained under freedom of information laws by the Frack Free Ryedale group, the authority found the company was working from out of date maps which fail to show a nearby caravan park used by visitors to the Flamingo Land theme park.

Planning officers questioned how the company expected the site to be screened by trees which were only planted last year and which will take more than a decade to mature.

The company was also asked to clarify whether it will honour the offer made by the industry last year to give every community where a well is drilled £100,000 and a one per cent share of revenues.

Third Energy was told the county council could not accept the application in its current form and the company subsequently withdrew the document.

Frack Free Ryedale supporter Joanne Bartlett, a Kirby Misperton resident, said, “If Third Energy can’t even do the paperwork properly, it is hard to see how local residents can have any confidence in allowing the company to start fracking on their doorstep.”

Popularly known as fracking, hydraulic fracturing is a mining method that sees water, chemicals and sand pumped at high pressure into rock formations deep underground to free trapped gas.

The Government has enthusiastically backed fracking as a way of creating jobs and securing domestic energy supplies.

But opponents argue the process poses a threat to the environment, particularly from the fluid pumped underground, and consumes unsustainable volumes of water.

A Third Energy spokesman said: “Though this letter is not supposed to be a public document, Third Energy is committed to full transparency and welcomes informed discussion of our plans.

“The planning application together with the environmental statement and appendices ran to seven thick volumes of documentation and a small number of minor errors were found, and additional information required in several places.

“To deal with any issues and provide further information, Third Energy decided the simplest and cleanest way forward was to withdraw this application and submit a new application.”

The spokesman said it was confident all the information in the application was “robust, comprehensive and accurate.”