AN APPLICATION to carry out fracking in Ryedale has failed to pass the initial validation process following its submission.

The application from gas company Third Energy was submitted to North Yorkshire County Council a matter of weeks ago but Graham Venn, assistant director at North Yorkshire County Council Trading Standards, said that the application has not passed validation process and so has not been registered.

The application is to hydraulically fracture five zones at the company’s existing KM8 well in Kirby Misperton. If the application is granted, test fracks would be carried out and if successful, gas would then be produced from one of more of the tested formations sent to Third Energy’s existing electricity production facilities.

A spokesman for Third Energy said:  “Third Energy has received a letter from North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) saying that it cannot validate its planning application for the proposed hydraulic fracturing at the KM8 well at Kirby Misperton  and setting out  the areas where they wish to see more clarification.   Having reviewed NYCC’s feedback, Third Energy has decided to withdraw the current application.  A new application will be made shortly, taking into account NYCC’s comments."

John Dewar, director of operations at Third Energy said: “Whilst the individual reasons for not validating the application are not difficult to address, we have decided that the simplest course of action is to resubmit the revised documents as a new application.”  

The application was discussed at a Ryedale area committee meeting after a petition with over 1,000 signatures was handed up to the county council. Members of Frack Free Ryedale gathered outside Ryedale House ahead of the meeting with banners to protest against the application.

Chris Redston, Communications Director of Frack Free Ryedale, said that he wanted Third Energy to state why the application had failed its validation. He said: “The fact that NYCC were unable to validate this application after nearly three weeks of negotiation with Third Energy is unlikely to fill anyone with confidence that the company would be able to frack ‘safely and discreetly.’

“We request Third Energy and the North Yorkshire County Council state publicly what the problems are with the application and the reasons why the application failed its validation test.”

Speaking at the meeting on behalf of petition organiser David Davis, Mike Potter said: “After more than a year of constant enquiry, I had little option but to oppose fracking, simply because my questions were not answered.

“This is a short term ‘boom and bust’ industry with the potential to seriously damage those industries we currently rely on like agriculture and tourism.”

Councillor Lindsay Burr urged councillors to put forward a strong message to the county council regarding their position on fracking and put forward an amendment that the council does not endorse fracking, however the vote was lost.

Coun John Clark’s suggestion that county councillors at the meeting should recommend that the Executive take the action the petition requests and to hear the views of the overview and scrutiny committee and environment and transport committee was unanimously approved by the five county councillors sitting at the meeting.

*For a full report of the meeting see next week’s Gazette & Herald