Warning for fracking firm over late filing of company accounts

THE COMPANY behind plans to frack for gas in North Yorkshire has been warned it faces being struck off unless its accounts are filed in the coming weeks.

Kirby Misperton is the focus of the debate over fracking
Kirby Misperton is the focus of the debate over fracking

Third Energy UK Gas has been issued with a warning after it failed to file its accounts with Companies House on time.

A letter to the firm warns it will be “struck off the register and the company will be dissolved” if the accounts, which were due at the end of September, are not submitted by February 6.

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The company insisted there was nothing untoward about the delay but anti-fracking campaigners argued it was vital to have transparency about the finances of energy firms.

Russell Scott, from the Frack Free North Yorkshire campaign group, said: “It is only by shining a bright light to the way this and other companies operate, that we can see that we cannot trust them to finance either safe working practices or the clean up afterwards when things go wrong.

“Scores of fracking companies in the US have gone bankrupt leaving a bitter legacy of polluted drinking water and poisoned soil for communities and local authorities to clean up.”

Third Energy was given planning permission last year to carry out fracking operations at a site near Kirby Misperton, in Ryedale, last year.

Campaigners asked the courts to intervene. claiming there were errors in the way permission was granted, but their appeals were dismissed.

The company has not set out a timetable for when fracking will begin at the site.

A Third Energy spokesman said: “The 2015 accounts are in the process of being finalised with our external auditors.

“The company, and others in the Third Energy Group, have always and will continue to file their accounts in the proper manner.”

The plans to frack at Kirby Misperton and by a different firm, Cuadrilla, at a site in Lancashire are being watched closely by both supporters and critics of the controversial mining method as a barometer of whether it will ever be widely used in the UK.

The Government has strongly backed the development of a UK fracking industry, arguing it will create valuable jobs and improve energy security.

But the energy industry’s attempts to develop fracking in the UK has been frustrated by residents’ groups and environmental campaigners concerned about the potential impact.

Friends of the Earth has agreed not to repeat several claims it made in a leaflet about fracking following an investigation by the Advertising Standards Agency.

A spokesman for the ASA said the advert must not appear again in its current form and the FoE must “not make claims about the likely effects of fracking on the health of local populations, drinking water, or property prices in the absence of adequate evidence”.

Cuadrilla chief executive Francis Egan said: “After many attempts by Friends of the Earth to delay this decision, the charity’s admission that all of the claims it made, that we complained about, were false should hopefully put a stop to it misleading the UK public on fracking.”

FoE senior campaigner Donna Hume said: “Cuadrilla’s complaint isn’t surprising from a profit-driven fracking company. After all, they have shareholders to keep happy. They started this process to distract from the real issues about fracking, and how burning fossil fuels is dangerous for climate change.

“This is a pro-fracking company doing all they can to shut down opposition to fracking.”