Welcome to the response guidelines page for Third Energy’s application to the Environment Agency (EA) for permits to frack at Kirby Misperton, in North Yorkshire. We hope you find this page useful and informative.
What have Third Energy applied for?
They are applying for two permits relating to their planned fracking operations at their KM8 well at Kirby Misperton. One is an Environmental Permit for the management of extractive mining waste, and the other is an Environmental Permit for a radioactive substances activity.
You can find details of these on the Environment Agency website. There are a lot of documents, but if you only want to look at one, the most useful is probably the Non-Technical Summary, which is the third one down on this EA page. It will open as a PDF document when you click on it.
Is this the same as the planning application?
No, it isn’t. The planning application is made with the North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) and was validated – at the third time of asking – on 29th July. We are currently looking through this and will be posting guidelines on this very soon.
So what’s the difference between the two?
The County Council grants or refuses permission for the site to be used in the way the Applicants have applied for, and considers whether it is a good use of land.
The EA permits are basically related to how the well- site operates if planning permission is granted, so are mainly related to things like disposing of waste, groundwater activity and monitoring of .
In a nutshell, the development consists of five phases:
1 Pre-stimulation workover of the well – 2 weeks, working 24/7
2 Hydraulic Fracture Stimulation (or ‘test-frac’) at five different depths, followed by Well Flow Test – 6 weeks, working 24/7
3 Production Test, with gas piped to Knapton Generating Station – 13 weeks, working 24/7
4 Commercial Production – up to nine years (according to the NYCC application)
5 Site Restoration and abandonment of the well (up to a year)
How can I respond to the EA consultation?
There are three ways to send in your comments – on their website, by email or by post.
WEBSITE – Go to the ‘Add Comments’ tab on the Environment Agency website. (This is at the top right of the long green box). We suggest you tick the confidentiality boxes. There are some suggested comments you can make and questions you can ask a bit further down this page.
EMAIL – You can also email your comments (in an email or as an attachment) to this address:
IMPORTANT – If you are sending an email, please put the following reference numbers in the subject line:
App Nos: EPR/DB3002HE/A001 and EPR/KB3098DE/A001 – Kirby Misperton A Wellsite
If you would prefer to take a bit of time over this and respond by email, please download this draft letter template below and follow the instructions. For a quicker online objection, keep reading…
When’s the deadline?
All comments must be received by 23.59 on Friday 7th August. That’s this Friday.
OK. Better get on with it, then. So what can I say in my objection?
Firstly, you can start by saying who you are and your interest in this application.
If you live near the well-site, your objection will carry a lot of weight, so please try to focus on things that might affect your day-to-day life, such as noise, pollution risks, etc.
If you’re from elsewhere in Yorkshire, please mention this in your comments and explain your interest in the application.
If you’re not from Yorkshire, you can mention your connection with the area, for example that you have been, or would like to go to North Yorkshire on holiday, or have family there.
Also, if you went to the Environment Agency Consultation at Kirby Misperton Village Hall on 16th June, please mention this and also ask any questions you feel were not answered on the day.
Then you can add some of the comments below. You don’t have to include them all, and if you have other comments or questions, please use them as well or instead of these suggestions. If you have time to put some of the comments in your own words, that would be great. The more you can personalise your objection, the more powerful it will be.
– The EA public consultation at Kirby Misperton Village Hall provided information about the five test fracks and resulting flow tests only. However, Third Energy’s application with the NYCC also includes commercial production for nine years, up to and including abandonment and restoration of the well. Has the EA consulted correctly on this application?
– Would commercial production over nine years require a rolling programme of further fracks, and possibly a number of horizontal sections to be drilled at different depths? If so, should requests for all permits for commercial production not be included in this application, along with the current permit requests for the five flow test fracks?
– If the EA grants the permits that have been applied for, will it not also be agreeing in principle to grant any further fracking permits the Applicant requires in the future, as by agreeing to the permits the EA will have in effect agreed to the Applicant’s request for ‘commercial production’?
– A twelve-month water monitoring programme for methane needs to be undertaken before any permitting is granted for any frack that uses over 1,000 m3 of frack fluid, under Section 50 of the Infrastructure Act. The frack at Zone E is 1,250 m3, this legally required monitoring has not been done. The EA has therefore no choice but to defer or refuse this application until the necessary monitoring has been undertaken.
– The permit application does not contain any information on testing for NORM in groundwater, which is surely a key factor in any groundwater monitoring programme. This makes it impossible for pollution from the site to be assessed.
– Has any baseline radon testing been done, and if so, what are the results? If not, should this not be undertaken before any permitting is considered, given that Yorkshire is known to be a high radon area?
– If it is discovered that the waste fluid does not contain NORM exceeding those in application, will the waste water still be treated to remove other pollutants such as hydrocarbons and heavy metals?
– It is clear that as well as NORM, the waste fracking fluid will also contain dangerous hydrocarbons that have been brought up from underground, such as benzene, toluene and Xylene, and other heavy metals. These are known carcinogens and are probably as dangerous as NORM, if not more so. How will these be assessed, monitored and removed from the waste water?
– What is the Environment Agency’s proposed inspection regime for the site? How much of the monitoring will be done by Third Energy (or sub-contractors it employs), and how much by the Environment Agency itself? Will all monitoring results be made public?
– How much will the Environment Agency rely on information sent to them by Third Energy (e.g. monthly printouts of data, etc.) as part of their ‘monitoring programme’?
– Is it legal in the UK for an operator to recycle fracking fluid from one strata/frack to another, in the way suggested by Third Energy?
– The proposed monthly monitoring of groundwater is too infrequent to pick up pollution as it occurs, particularly as any onsite tests will take a further week to yield results.
– It is difficult to understand why something like sulphuric acid can be classed as ‘non-hazardous’. Could the Environment Agency clarify the difference between ‘hazardous’ and ‘non-hazardous’ chemicals in relation to fracking fluid additives, if possible by providing a clear definition of both?
– Biocides can be very harmful to the environment, particularly if there was an accident or a spill. Please can the EA prohibit any use of biocides on this site.
– What explosives are to be used to perforate the well during the fracking operation in this process, and what risks do they present? Also, how are these to be transported to the site and stored on-site?
– Is the EA responsible for the safety and upkeep of the pipeline from KM8 to Knapton Generating Station? If not, who is? Has the safety and integrity of the pipeline been checked recently? Are these results publicly available?
– Where exactly in the country will the waste water be tankered to? Also, how will this be treated when it arrives at the Disposal Facility, and what will happen to the resultant ‘cleaned’ water when it has gone through the cleaning process?
What should I do about the KM8 application to the NYCC?
That has only just been validated so we have a bit of time before we have to respond. Please add your name to the mailing list at the bottom of the Home page and we’ll let you know when we have some guidelines prepared.
OK, will do. Is that it?
Yes, it is. Thanks for helping! And please pass on this link to everyone you know who is concerned about fracking and wants to help stop this coming to Yorkshire and the rest of the UK.