Yorkshire is “fracking frontline”

Yorkshire is now the UK’s “fracking frontline” as one of the world’s biggest oil and gas firms eyes up the region.

A fracking protest was staged at Knapton Generating Station
A fracking protest was staged at Knapton Generating Station

Campaigners in and around Ryedale have said their anti-fracking battle is now among the most important in the county.

Frack Free Ryedale has submitted evidence to a Commons drilling inquiry in a bid to prevent a gas well starting up in North Yorkshire.

At the same time Halliburton, one of the world’s biggest energy firms, has also sought to win over MPs, making a detailed case for fracking as it bids to be one of the firms providing services for Yorkshire fracking-hopeful Third Energy.

Some 1,000 residents around the Kirby Misperton site have backed efforts to prevent drilling, potentially putting them up against Halliburton, a company worth around 30 billion dollars and with operations in some of the world’s biggest oil and gas sites.

Frack Free Ryedale told MPs Ryedale is now in the new “fracking front line” as a result of firms eyeing up shale sites in what are thought to be gas rich areas of North Yorkshire.

Volunteers at the group say they have spent months “sifting through the evidence of the effects of fracking around the world” and have come to the conclusion that fracking is “a threat to our environment, water, agriculture, tourist industry and general day-to-day country life” as well as being “incompatible with our commitment to reducing climate change and our legal obligation to reduce CO2 emissions”

The campaigners have urged MPs to prevent a situation in which the region is eventually littered with drilling sites, changing for decades an ”area of outstanding natural beauty, dependent on agriculture and tourism, and home to many kinds of threatened wildlife.”

That wildlife concern is backed up by RSPB, which has also warned MPs looking into the environmental impact of fracking that it is “particularly keen to see protected areas and designated sites excluded from the award of licensing for shale gas exploration.”

The bird charity adds: “Government’s own projections predict up to 120 well pads over the next two decades, each with between 6 and 24 wells and each occupying up to three hectares of land.

“This land take, combined with road building and other structures such as for water storage, will lead to direct loss of wildlife habitats. This will be particularly acute if development goes head in protected areas.

“Yet Government has included many protected areas and designated sites within the 14th Licensing Round, rather than opting to exclude these extremely sensitive areas.”

In its submission Halliburton has told MPs the UK cannot meet its targets when it comes to replacing conventional energy with renewable energy and should instead look to shale energy as a “lower carbon fuel”.

Third Energy, which will apply to frack for shale gas in North Yorkshire, has said no decision has been reached yet on awarding work to Halliburton.

A spokeswoman for Third Energy said: “As is normal in the oil and gas industry, Third Energy is discussing the scope of work, for various services and equipment contracts, with a range of potential sub-contractors for different elements of its proposed operations at the KM-8 well at Kirby Misperton in North Yorkshire.

“At this stage no contracts have been awarded but Halliburton is one of the companies with whom we are in discussion.”