YP Comment: A new frontier for fracking

The Yorkshire Post will demand that Third Energy adheres to the highest possible operating standards and will subject the entire process to the utmost scrutiny.

Young protestors wait outside County Hall, Northallerton, as the council meets to decide if fracking at sites in North Yorkshire should be allowed. John Giles/PA Wire

THE decision to allow fracking to take place in Ryedale, on a site at the very edge of the North York Moors no less, could not fail to be contentious.

The fact that it was reached after days of deliberation, reams of reports and countless statements on both sides of the debate will be of no comfort to those residents who fear what the future may now bring.

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Given past refusals by local authorities to give the go ahead to such operations, Third Energy’s success in securing permission to drill for shale gas at Kirby Misperton may just have salvaged the entire UK fracking industry.

It is good news, of course, for those who support the Government’s view that it will provide a steady source of jobs and tax receipts as well as doing the important job of keeping the nation’s lights on – and all without posing risks to the environment or health.

Yet among those campaigners who fought tirelessly to block this application it is a resurrection that will invoke feelings of dread, not least as they now face the prospect of further challenges from the likes of Energy firms Cuadrilla and Ineos, who have also acquired licenses to explore for gas in the area.

Understandably, the idea that this picturesque corner of North Yorkshire could become the centre of the fracking industry raises concerns about the resultant impact on the surrounding environment and the tourist industry which is its lifeblood.

Fracking represents a new frontier in UK energy provision and as such carries with it considerable uncertainty and concern, which Third Energy has tried manfully, yet unsuccessfully, to assuage.

The Yorkshire Post is fiercely proud of this region’s countryside and landscape, along with the communities that populate them and which we serve. Now that a decision has been reached, this newspaper will demand that Third Energy adheres to the highest possible operating standards and will subject the entire process to the utmost scrutiny.

EU decision time

The countdown starts here

AS Boris Johnson hit the campaign trail in Yorkshire for Vote Leave yesterday, he claimed that the Remain campaign was “rattled” and had been reduced to putting out propaganda in order to win votes. On the same day the Chancellor George Osborne warned that leaving the European Union would tip the UK into a year-long recession.

We are now less than a month away from arguably the most important vote any of us will cast in our lifetime - namely whether to stay in the EU, or to leave. And yet an increasingly bitter referendum campaign threatens to descend into a political Punch and Judy Show, with the key protagonists more interested in undermining their rivals than in providing the British public with the accurate information it has been crying out for.

What we need is clear, concise analysis that separates fact from fiction. The claims of both sides must be forensically examined which is why we, as Yorkshire’s National Newspaper, are launching our EU Referendum: 30 Days to Decide campaign. From tomorrow, and for every single publication day until the result is announced on June 24, The Yorkshire Post will publish a full page dedicated to the referendum debate.

There will be no hidden agenda. We will cover the EU campaign in a balanced and impartial manner so that readers of this newspaper will be able to go to the ballot box on June 23 and make a rational, informed decision.

For make no mistake, whichever way people vote on June 23 the outcome will not only shape our future for decades to come, it will define who we are as a nation.

Facebook failure

Toll of angst of our own making

ACCORDING to Dr Mike Scanlan one of the biggest causes of stress in 21st century life is Facebook.

Now helping people in Yorkshire to conquer their feelings of inadequacy and anxiety, you don’t need to suffer the same social media envy of friends who, on the surface at least, lead happier lives to benefit from his guidance.

An advocate of mindfulness, he stresses the importance of living in the moment and appreciating the simpler things in life.It is sage advice which we would all, to varying degrees, do well to heed.Life is for living, yet so often our cluttered minds lie elsewhere and fall prey to angst of our own making.

Certainly younger generations might consider the value of no longer setting so much store by idealised versions of life as portrayed on social media and in hollow reality television programmes.