GAS company Third Energy has welcomed approval of their 'hydaulic fracture plan' (HFP) for the KM8 well by the Environment Agency.

Chief executive Rasik Valand, said: "We are very pleased to have achieved another significant regulatory milestone towards hydraulic fracturing of our KM8 well following a thorough review of all the technical issues and protections.

"We will now be in a position to prepare and submit a formal application to the Secretary of State for Hydraulic Fracturing Consent (HFC).

“The Hydraulic Fracture Plan is a technical document that sets out how the company will meet a range of specific regulatory protections around hydraulic fracturing.

"These measures are in addition to the established regulatory environment which covers all onshore oil and gas development.” 

The company say that additional measures include setting out how systems to ensure that, "in the unlikely event that the fracturing were to trigger any small, induced seismic event, the risk of impacts at surface will be minimised and controlled."

It also covers how the deep sub-surface fractures will be measured.

Cllr Di Keal, from Frack Free United questioned the capability of the agency to regulate the "completely unknown" industry and said: "This is a sad day for Ryedale – only one more step remains until the district faces the reality of fracking and the devastation it will bring.

"We have seen the horror of water pollution, health implications and devastation of agricultural land in the US, Canada and Australia – how dare the Tory government inflict this dirty industry on the UK and effectively treat us as guinea pigs."