No fracking this year on controversial site as deadline passes for test survey

No fracking will take place in a North Yorkshire village this year, it has been confirmed, after the company behind the initiative said it had no current plans to return to the site.

Third Energy had originally hoped to start test-fracking on the outskirts of Kirby Misperton before Christmas, but began withdrawing specialist equipment from the site last spring pending a Government review of its finances.

A three-month groundwater survey, mandated as a condition of its licence before drilling could begin, had yet to take place, the firm said.

The proposal to extract gas from shale rock deep underground, using high a pressure water mixture, has been hugely controversial.

An anti-fracking poster in the village of Kirby Misperton.

More than 80 arrests were made after campaigners began camping on the site between Malton and Pickering, using a vast array of tactics to prevent work taking place.

But earlier this year, Third Energy said it was removing test equipment because it was required on two other operations in Europe – a move that prompted campaigners to “declare victory”.

A spokesman for the company said: “We are not pushing the Government for final consent because don’t have the equipment available. We don’t know when it will become available.”

In January, the Business Secretary, Greg Clark, ordered an assessment of the firm’s “financial resilience” before deciding whether to give it consent to undertake drilling.