Fracking decision in North Yorkshire may take until Monday

Fashion designer Vivienne Westwood may have pulled out of joining protesters because of illness but the tide of anti-fracking opinion means North Yorkshire County Council is likely to postpone the crucial decision on a site in North Yorkshire.

Friday, 20th May 2016, 4:46 pm
Updated Friday, 20th May 2016, 5:51 pm
An example of fracking in action.

Early in today's meeting at County Hall in NorthallertonNYCC planning committee's chairman Coun Peter Sowray described the issue as "the most controversial application we have ever had to deal with.So many speakers, many of them local residents, civic leaders and businessmen, have spoken against energy firm Third Energy's application, that the actual vote seems set to be delayed until Monday seems. Work on the site, believed to hold the second-largest gas shale reserves in England, moved a step closer recently with a report by North Yorkshire county council recommending permission be granted to the UK firm for testing on deposits first identified in the area by Third Energy in 2013.But the recommendations have alarmed anti-fracking protestors, among whom are members of the Frack Free Harrogate District group and the local Green Party who fear the environmental consequences of any drilling for shale gas.Despite the undoubted jobs boost fracking would bring, they say a ‘yes’ decision could eventually impact closer to home because official studies published by the Government studies show that at least part of the Harrogate district sits on Bowland Shale.And they point to the fact that NYCC’s own lengthy consultation period which has been going on since last August received 4,000 replies from the public, the bulk of them against fracking.Whatever way North Yorkshire County Council decides to swing, the police are warning of the threat of a summer of protests in the county over the issue.And North Yorkshire’s Police Federation has said fracking demonstrations could pose a “significant challenge” to over-stretched police resources in parts of the region.