Council can’t stall on Ryedale fracking bid, minister warns

A fracking decision in North Yorkshire must not be held up by the local council, the Energy Secretary has warned.

Amber Rudd, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change. Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Amber Rudd has told the Yorkshire Post that the decision over whether to grant permission to Third Energy to dig a well to extract shale gas near the village of Kirkby Misperton should follow the strict guidelines set out in planning rules.

North Yorkshire County Council is due to assess their application in November.

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Ryedale District Council, which will see its views fed into the report presented to the authority’s planning committee, recently voted on a five year ban on shale gas extraction in the area.

Ms Rudd said she was confident there was a future for shale gas extraction in the country as a whole, and had recently beefed up guidance so that councils don’t spent any longer than a year considering a decision.

On whether shale gas should be extracted in Ryedale, she said ‘that’s going to be up to Third Energy’.

She said: “It’s up to them to pursue the opportunities that they have there.

“It’s up to them and the councils. We’ve set out the parameters.

“I’m not trying to make it easy, the planning rules are the planning rules.

“I just want people to stick to the rules, and guidance and the timetable.”

She maintained the Government’s commitment to exploring shale gas opportunities, and said ‘I believe that we will see shale gas extracted in this country’.

She said: “We have put down additional instructions on the planning guidance in order to ensure that councils don’t spend over a year - as they have in the past - thinking about this.”