FRACKING could take place underneath houses without the homeowner’s permission under plans being considered by the Government.
Ministers are said to be looking at ways to sidestep trespassing laws to allow energy companies to drill for shale gas in areas which have been granted exploration licences at certain sites – including Ryedale and an area of the North York Moors National Park.
The plans, which are due to be published for consultation in the next few months, come only weeks after Prime Minister David Cameron announced his backing for an “all out” drive to support the search for shale gas across the UK.
Ryedale has been identified as an area with the potential for fracking and people living in the area have already seen several drill sites set up.
Viking UK Gas Ltd has been drilling at a site in Kirby Misperton, where samples have been sent off for analysis to see if fracking would be possible, and a conventional gas drilling site has been erected from Ebberston Moor to the Knapton Generating site.
If the Government is successful in changing the trespass laws, gas companies with drilling licences will still need planning permission, follow guidelines from environmental regulators and liaise with residents regarding access rights before drilling.
Paul Gammon, member of campaign group Frack Free North Yorkshire, said although he is beginning to feel at a loss, the campaign was still ongoing.
“It is like an unstoppable machine and it is going to happen and we just can’t stop it,” he said. “The way they are going about it they are cutting corners because they don’t really know what they are doing.”
Mr Gammon said a major concern was the water supply after it was announced earlier this month that fracking would put an increased pressure on water resources.
Chairwoman of the Environment and Rural Affairs Select Committee, MP Anne McIntosh, has written to Mr Cameron asking for clarification about the potential impact this will have on the area and, in particular, issues surrounding water resources.
The North Yorkshire and York Local Nature Partnership is welcoming people and campaign groups such as Frack Free North Yorkshire to submit their views on environmental issues.
The public consultation period runs until March 9 after which the partnership will collate the views to create a strategy to benefit the local economy and protect the environment, which will be launched in the Spring.
Ian Fielding, chairman of the partnership and assistant director of waste and countryside services for North Yorkshire County Council, said: “A range of organisations have been working together to establish a strategy which will help positively change the way we manage our countryside for the future, for the benefit of the wildlife and people reliant upon it.”
To take part in the consultation, visit www.nypartnerships.org.uk/lnp or phone 01609 533240.