North Yorkshire Council votes to approve fracking

North Yorkshire Council has voted to approve a fracking operation, the first to be approved in England since a ban was lifted in 2012.

The move comes after fierce local opposition, with the Council receiving 4,375 objections to the plans, and was met with boos and jeers from campaigners outside County Hall in Northallerton.

The committee sat for two days and listened to over 100 speakers before coming to the decision, which will allow Third Energy to test for shale gas in North Yorkshire.

The Council’s online announcement stressed that had taken a ‘single decision on a single site’ and that the location already ‘has existing conventional drilling for gas on it’.

It also said it was ‘aware that this is a controversial proposal of major sensitivity and complexity’. The Council claimed that the decision would not change the fact that ‘North Yorkshire is a beautiful place to live in, to work in and to visit’ but would help support economic growth and provide jobs for local communities.

Richard Flinton, North Yorkshire Council’s chief executive, said: "This has been a very difficult decision for the Council to make and we know it is a difficult decision for the people of this county.

“We are proud of our beautiful county which attracts so many visitors and maintains a thriving tourism industry. We have no intention of jeopardising those qualities and our rural industries and livelihoods. For that reason the planning conditions must be fully discharged and monitored. In this case there has already been drilling for gas on this site over many years. The decision taken today does not have a bearing on future decisions. Each application of this nature will be decided upon based on its own merits."