CAMPAIGNERS against fracking are continuing to fight hard to ensure the controversial gas extraction process does not happen in Ryedale.

Members of Frack Free Ryedale met last week to look at the latest planning applications and discuss the issues which could arise from these if fracking licenses are granted over Ryedale.

The group is now calling for the Environment Agency not to approve any further planning applications for energy companies across the area until key concerns, including the disposal of radioactive water, are answered.

Chris Redston of Frack Free Ryedale said: “Frack Free Ryedale call on the Environment Agency to defer any decision on the new application for radioactive water disposal until it has performed its own independent physical analysis of the geology and water of the area.”

Chris said that members of Frack Free Ryedale are particularly concerned with an application for a proposed re-injection well at Ebberston south by gas company Third Energy UK Gas Ltd.

He said: “Whilst we accept that Third Energy’s plans at Ebberston south are not for fracking per se, we are extremely concerned for about the plans for a re-injection well and the dangers this may pose to the National Park and the water supply of surrounding areas – as well as setting a dangerous precedent for other re-injection wells in the future.”

The group are now also calling for members of the public to lodge objections against the planning application at Ebberston Moor after the group, along with Frack Free North Yorkshire, approached North Yorkshire County Council and the North York Moors National Park Authority, asking them to extend the deadline for comments.

Chris said that due to the large number of documents he was pleased that the two authorities had granted an extension for comments to be submitted. The deadline is now October 24.

Anne McIntosh, MP for Thirsk Malton and Filey and Chairman of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee is also backing the fight against fracking and recently questioned leading MP's at a one off meeting where the MP, as chair of the select committee put questions to Secretary of Statement, MP Elizabeth Truss.

Before the meeting, Ms McIntosh told the Gazette & Herald that she would be pushing for the MP to answer questions on the impact fracking would have on the environment, the chance of earthquakes and the issue of waste water.

Ms McIntosh said: "The evidence session went well and we covered all the main issues of concern such as the environmental impact on the countryside, farming and tourism.

"We also discussed where the water supply would be sourced used in fracking and how that would be disposed of without the risk of pollution or contamination of the ground water or being carted away by multiple truck loads which would have a negative impact on rural areas such as Ryedale which depend so much on tourism and farming."

Questions were also put to the Chief Executive of the Environment Agency, Dr Paul Leinster on the role of the agency in issuing licenses and permits for fracking.

Ms McIntosh said that both Liz Truss and Dr Leinster addressed concerns fully and that she was pleased to have been able to raise concerns on behalf of Ryedale residents.

She said: "We asked whether they had the resources and personnel to do so and its view of the dangers of fracking to the environment, the countryside and biodiversity.

"As Ryedale district has undergone seismic surveys, these matters are of great concern to its residents and therefore this was a good opportunity for me to raise them on their behalf."

To view the planning application for Ebberston Moor visit

What fuels the dash for gas?

Fears have increased over the past 12 months as central Government promotes a “dash for gas” and talks to grant fracking licences are in the pipeline.

Although fracking has not taken place across Ryedale, residents are concerned that drilling for conventional gas, which has been done across the Vale of Pickering for the past two decades, will lead to fracking.

Fracking – or hydraulic fracturing – is a technique which uses drilling to recover gas and oil reserves from shale rock. This involves drilling into the earth before injecting a high-pressure water mixture into the ground to fracture the shale rock and release the gas inside.

The water is then mixed with sand and chemicals to inject back into the rock, again at high pressure, allowing the gas to flow into the well.

The process uses huge amounts of water and will create vast amounts of waste water.

Anne McIntosh, MP for Thirsk, Malton and Filey and chairman of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee, recently put questions regarding fracking to Secretary of State Liz Truss and asked specific questions regarding waste water.

There are also worries that potentially carcinogenic chemicals may escape and contaminate groundwater around the site. This is a particular concern for Ryedale campaigners, including Frack Free North Yorkshire and Frack Free Ryedale, who fear that fracking may damage the Ryedale landscape, including the North York Moors National Park.

People have also voiced concerns about earth tremors.

But for gas companies such as Third Energy UK Gas Ltd, which has drilling permissions in Ryedale and has been producing gas in the Vale of Pickering for the past 20 years, fracking allows them to access hard to reach resources which could in the future contribute to the UK’s energy needs.

However, according to a report by the Energy and Climate Change Committee, it would not help to bring down gas prices as it has done in the US.

Third Energy employs about 25 local people and produces gas from well sites in Pickering, Malton and Marishes Fields. The gas is then transmitted to Knapton Generating Station via the Marishes well site. The gas is used to produce electricity at the generating station.

The company has also undertaken seismic surveys of the area in order to gain a better understanding of the structure of the land.

Licences for fracking are yet to be granted, but Ryedale is said to be rich in reserves for shale gas and there has been some debate over whether fracking – if it does come to Ryedale – will be allowed in the North York Moors National Park.

Licences for beauty spots, including National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty will only be granted in exceptional circumstances and if it can be shown they are in the public interest.