THE peace that has been restored to the idyllic village of Kirby Misperton in the Ryedale countryside in recent months after it became the unlikely epicentre of a national debate around fracking two years ago may soon be about to be disturbed again – with much wider implications for Yorkshire and the country as a whole.
It had appeared likely that a site on its outskirts run by a company called Third Energy would become the first place in the country for test drilling to begin since similar work in Lancashire was halted in 2011 after triggering earth tremors.
Anti-fracking activists set up a camp in a nearby field and more than 80 arrests were made as protesters attempted to frustrate the work.
The work was due to pave the way for fracking – which is designed to recover gas and oil from shale rock using a high-pressure water mixture – to take place across the country more widely, with six other companies also holding exploration licences for areas across Yorkshire.
But after the Government demanded reassurances on Third Energy’s financial viability in early 2018, equipment was moved off the site and a different site in Lancashire became the first to begin test fracking instead; work interrupted once again by repeated earth tremors. Now Third Energy has new owners in the form of a US company called Alpha Energy and a spokesperson has said their plans for Kirby Misperton will be revealed soon. The residents of Kirby Misperton, and Yorkshire more widely, deserve to know immediately what is intended and whether the village will soon be back once again on the fracking frontline.