YP Comment: A new frontier for fracking

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.

Protesters outside County Hall in Northallerton, where the decision was made.
Protesters outside County Hall in Northallerton, where the decision was made.

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.

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.