UPDATED: Fracking at KM8 – final chance to object

UPDATED March 2016 to reflect new information and important changes

What are the key points I can include in my objection?
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Please write using your own words, perhaps by rephrasing the points in your own way or using the information in the bullet points to form a paragraph. You can also change the order of the points if you prefer, or choose the ones that you feel most concerned about. You don’t have to include all the points, and please make additional points you feel would support your objection. Using natural language and writing in your own style has more impact.

Where do I send my objection to this planning application?

Emails should be sent to: km8application@northyorks.gov.uk Please put the application number in the subject line: NY/2015/0233/ENV You can write your objection in the body of the email, or attach it as a Word Document.

And at the end of your objection, please remember to ask the County Council to reject the application.

It would also help if you could send a similar letter to members of the NYCC Planning Committee

TRAFFIC

  • In the revised Transport Management plan, there are projected to be 526 HGV movements and 864 Light Goods Vehicles (LGV)/car movements in the first phases of the development up until the end of the production tests.
  • This means a total of 1,390 traffic movements (compared to just 266 HGV movements promised in Third Energy’s Residents’ Brochure and Public Consultation Booklet.)
  • If production for 9 years, decomissioning and site restoration is included, this adds another 1,516 HGV movements and 13,392 LGV/car movements
  • This traffic will travel along country roads and directly through Kirby Misperton village.
  • This will result in increased noise pollution, air pollution from traffic fumes, vibration to homes and other buildings and increased wear and tear damage to the road surface, verges and pavements.
  • When seismicity is mentioned in relation to fracking, this is often answered by using the example of an HGV rumbling past at 30 mph will cause a seismic event of around 3 to 4 on the Richter Scale. This is a relevant factor to be taken into account in relation to the vehicle movements and the heritage assets within proximity of the ‘approved’ transport route.
  • There will be a greater risk of traffic accidents – children, pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders are particularly vulnerable. Many parts of the route around Kirby Misperton village have no footpath so pedestrians either walk in the road or on the verge (where that is possible).
  • This vulnerability will be increased by the development as the public footpaths around the site may be closed during the development period, thus cutting out circular walking routes from the Village and Flamingo Land
  • The bridge survey carried out in respect of Kirby Misperton Bridge (a Grade II heritage asset) has stated the bridge is capable of carrying the loads involved. However there are recommendations in the report as to how the heaviest loads must travel over the centre part of the bridge at very low speed (5 mph).
  • The bridge is a pinch point as only one vehicle can cross at any time. On top of this, as the road changes direction at this point it unsights traffic from both directions and this must increase the risk of traffic incidents/accidents.
  • Cars driving towards Kirby Misperton will be travelling relatively fast as the road is reasonably straight from the A169 to Kirby Misperton Bridge.
  • The applicant has carried out no survey of the traffic in Kirby Misperton when Flamingo Land was open for business.
  • However they have made an estimation using traffic flow and other information relating to other leisure parks in other parts of the UK. There is virtually no information specific to Flamingo Land so therefore the application of any patterns from other sites is flawed on this basis alone. This is not good enough to inform the Planning Authority as to the ‘actual’ traffic flows around the development site. The primary aim of any survey is to provide specific and relevant information. This ‘estimation’ provides no site specific information so it can not therefore inform the Planning Authority.
  • Third Energy say there were “many more” vehicle movements when they constructed the extension to the site at Kirby Misperton 1 and drilled KM-Deep (now called KM8 – the borehole which is the subject of this application). In actual fact, according to the planning statement for that application (NY/2012/0388/FUL) for the whole of the construction, mobilisation and demobilisation of equipment, drilling, and the extended well test the total HGV movements stated (and therefore approved by the grant of planning permission) was 504. This is 26 less than are planned for fracking at KM8!

NOISE

  • The levels of noise at the site during the first two stages will be very much higher than would normally occur in this quiet rural location. It is stated that it will increase up to 90 dB on site – as loud as a nightclub.
  • Noise will be clearly audible within the village and nearby properties, and particularly on caravan parks and camp sites. These buildings will be of a much lesser standard to houses in terms of acoustic performance and therefore much more affected by the disturbance
  • Noise will carry across the countryside for many miles in all directions, disturbing people in neighbouring villages and properties. Kirby Misperton is directly down wind of the site based on the prevailing wind.
  • Recent annual maintenance works and drilling of water monitoring boreholes has disturbed several residents. The works carried out have used relatively small drilling rigs.
  • The planned noise barrier (accoustic sheets) will add to noise disturbance in high winds
  • The planned noise barrier at the southern end is totally open so there will be properties adversely affected to the south of the site.
  • The traffic noise created by HGV’s is another factor not taken into account. A truck travelling at 30mph creates 65dB(A) heard from 100m away. So this disturbance must be reflected in any decision.(Source PAN 45)

NIGHT-TIME DISTURBANCE 

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  • Work will take place 24 hours a day for the first five months, and will be particularly noisy during the first two months.
  • Any vehicle movements needed during 24 hour working periods will be particularly noticeable in this area of normally very low background noise levels
  • Local residents will be subjected to excessive and unreasonable disturbance in what is a quiet and tranquil part of the countryside.
  • The noise at times will be at levels that can disturb sleep.There are caravan parks and camp sites closeby – these units are of a much lesser standard to houses in terms of their construction so sound insulation and protection from night time lighting will be poor and they will be much more affected by the disturbance during the development.
  • The bright lights from the site during darkness hours will be intrusive and disturbing to residents and wildlife. Despite the screening, the workover rig and coil tubing unit will be above this and the lighting will be intrusive.
  • It is most likely that the temporary screening to the site will be noisy in high winds and thus increase disturbance.

VISUAL IMPACT

  • The site is highly visible from the public footpath that runs along the edge of the site and from Habton Road.
  • The landscape and views will be affected.
  • The Noise Attenuation Barrier (NAB) and drilling equipment will be out of keeping in this landscape and will spoil the quiet use and enjoyment of the footpath.
  • The NAB is now proposed to be a 9m high mix of a single storey of ISO shipping containers topped with scaffolding and acoustic sheeting. It is not clear if the ISO containers will match the colour of the accoustic sheets. The sheets themselves will be over printed with a trademark/logo as well as having a shiny finish, which is out of keeping with the rural landscape
  • Although not in a National Park or an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the countryside is still highly valued and the open vistas are a characteristic of the area. This is often the reason why many people chose to move to, or visit the area.

EFFECT ON WILDLIFE

  • There is a wide range of wildlife in the immediate area and many are protected species.
  • All wildlife will be adversely affected by light pollution, noise and vibration.
  • Depending on the time of year, this can also cause problems with breeding and hibernation. Vibration will impact adversely on certain species such as owls and other small mammals.
  • This disturbance to their habitat could lead to some species leaving the area permanently, which would affect the delicate ecological balance of the area.
  • The applicants have not followed best practice in relation to their ecological assessment
  • Yorkshire Wildlife Trust agree that this application should not be approved

PRODUCTION PHASE

  • The development is often mentioned in the terms ‘oh it’s a test frack’. It isn’t – it is an application to produce gas for 9 years. There is little detail in the planning application about the Production phase.
  • It is extremely unlikely that this small ‘test frack’ will be able to release enough gas to produce commercially viable quantities of gas for 9 years.
  • This means that the company will need to re-frack the well a number of times, or drill lateral wells from the borehole to continue production. However, there is nothing in the planning application about this phase.
  • The only comment is that they cannot say what they will need to do in the future but workover activity is usually ‘short term’. This is not a valid planning reason to grant the applicant 9 years of ‘production?
  • The applicant must therefore be asked to provide extensive details of this production phase before the application can be fully considered.

ACCIDENTS AND LEGACY ISSUES

POSTER - Keep Ryedale Rural - no fracking

What will future generations think if we allow fracking to go ahead?

  • Toxic waste water containing NORMs (Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials) and dangerous chemicals in concentrated form (such as sulphuric acid) will be transported through Kirby Misperton village and stored on-site.
  • Any accident where a spillage occurs could be extremely damaging to the environment.
  • This presents an unacceptable risk to the local community and the environment
  • The Minerals Planning Authority have a duty to ensure they protect residents from future problems by ensuring suitable financial bonds are agreed where an applicant is applying for permission to carry out a novel process as part of their development proposals
  • Any financial provisions agreed must fully reflect the likely high cost of any necessary remedial works or restoration works that have to be carried out at the site should the applicant go out of business. The sum MUST take into account the realistic costs of the complex legacy issues of this industry.       Frack Free Ryedale‘s experts have stated that the sum for this would be substantial.
  • Accidents such as pipeline leaks do happen and have happened in the past in Ryedale’s conventional gas industry.

GROUNDWATER POLLUTION RISKS

  • If any fluids used for fracking, such as sulphuric acid, escape from the site they could contaminate the surrounding area, groundwater and local farmland.
  • The pollutants could contaminate the local becks and rivers, killing fish and other aquatic species.
  • Pollutants could also enter the local water network via the site drainage system.
  • The site layout is cramped and some of the flowback fluid storage tanks will be situated over some of the water monitoring boreholes.

GROUNDWATER MONITORING

  • There should be a 12-month monitoring period of methane in groundwater before fracking, which is a requirement under the Infrastructure Act 2015.
  • However, the applicant does not intend to monitor the groundwater for 12 months prior to fracking.
  • Inadequate monitoring of fluctuating groundwater conditions will result in a lack of baseline data, meaning that the risk of pollution to water, the environment and public health cannot be correctly monitored and assessed.
  • Frack Free Ryedale’s experts do not consider that the groundwater environment has been properly characterised

AIR POLLUTION RISKS

  • The exhaust emissions from HGV traffic, compressors and diesel generators will create increased air pollution near the site. Unless all vehicles are running at the ‘optimum’ manafacturers’ guidelines, there will be exceedences to air quality standards.
  • It is not clear how idling times of vehicles on site will be controlled
  • These will expose local people (and workers at the site) to substances that are harmful to health and increase their risk of developing serious health problems in the future.
  • There is also a significant health risk due from silicosis due to the large quantities of sand used in the fracking process.
  • Proposals to monitor are far from what the general public would consider ‘gold standard regulation’.       The current proposals would allow pollution events to occur and not be known about for several weeks after an event. This is not reassuring. This is due to the type of passive monitoring which requires exposure over a number of days and then is sent to a laboratory for analysis and eventually the results will be published – how does this protect air quality and human health?

WASTE MANAGEMENT

  • NYCC has concerns over the storage and treatment of waste water. It is the intention to recycle any flowback water and it will be held in closed storage tanks on site. Some of these tanks will be sited directly over some of the water monitoring boreholes based on the site layout plans.
  • The water will be treated by a UV process and also through a coagulation system. The intention of the UV treatment is to cut down on biocide use although biocides still appear on the chemical list. Further information is needed from the applicant as to the intended use of the biocides.
  • Once all fracks are finished, flowback fluid will be tanked away to an Environment Agency approved treatment works. It has to be sent to a large treatment plant as essentially the treatment is dilution prior to disposal.
  • The applicant has no idea how much flowback they will actually get back from the well. Any miscalculation will mean there is a risk of insufficient storage on site.
  • The composition of any flowback fluid will not be known and if, after analysis, any treatment centre can choose not to accept it, unless the analysis is within set criteria.
  • It is noted from the Lancashire Planning Appeal in relation to Cuadrilla’s fracking application, that there is a finite volume of waste water that can be handled by the current suitable treatment plants in the UK. It was mentioned that the proposals in Lancashire would account for 65% of the available current capacity of those treatment plants.
  • There are growing concerns as to the Environment Agency’s recent apparent change to policy in respect of reinjecting waste water from fracking operations, which is a complete U-turn as previously it was considered a contravention of European Law
BRITAIN-ENERGY-GAS-ENVIRONMENT-FRACKING

Do we want to lock ourselves into fossil fuels for generations to come?

CLIMATE CHANGE

  • Shale gas is a fossil fuel and the UK urgently needs to reduce our CO2 emissions to combat climate change.
  • A new fracking industry will lock us into using fossil fuels for decades to come, and also delay the move to clean renewable energy.
  • The Council has a duty to take climate change into account when ruling on planning applications. The gas generated from this application will not be used as gas to heat people’s homes, but will be sent Knapton Generating Station to produce electricity. There are other, greener, cleaner ways to generate electricity that will not cause climate change. This should include taking into account the likely leakage of methane from the operations on site.

DISTANCE FROM WELL-SITE TO VILLAGE

  • Recently Thirsk and Malton MP Mr Kevin Hollinrake went to Pennsylvania to investigate fracking, and returned with a number of demands for the fracking industry, including that no fracking site should be within one mile of a home or school.
  • The centre of Kirby Misperton village is only half a mile from the KM8 well-site an therefore does not meet Mr Hollinrake’s criteria.

JOBS AND TOURISM

  • The application at Kirby Misperton does not create a single new job.
  • If fracking is allowed in Ryedale, it could threaten the jobs of thousands of hard-working people in the key local industries of tourism and agriculture.
  • People will be less likely to come and visit the area if they feel that their peace and quiet will be compromised by fracking wells, their health is threatened by pollution, or that they will have to cope with large increases in HGV traffic on country roads.
  • This is confirmed in the Draft DEFRA Report “Shale Gas Rural Economy Impacts Paper”, which says: Fracking “may reduce the number of visitors and tourists in the rural area, with an associated reduction in spend in the local tourism economy.”
  • Recently (15 March 2016) Ryedale District Council’s Planning Committee (who are a Statutory Consultee to this application) recommended NYCC refuse the planning application.       One of the main points for refusal was the likely effect on the tourist economy. There were several other points including the detrimental effects from increased HGV movements, effects on the landscape, air quality, noise, and problems regarding the disposal of waste water.       All are contrary to the Ryedale Local Plan

EFFECT ON THE LOCAL ECONOMY AND THE LOCAL ECONOMIC PLAN

  • If fracking is allowed in Ryedale, it will have a negative effect on other key industries in the area, threatening thousands of hard-working people’s jobs and livelihoods.
  • This is confirmed in the government’s Draft DEFRA Shale Gas Rural Economy Impacts Paper, which says “Shale gas may transform a previously pristine and quiet natural region, bringing increased industrialisation. As a result, rural economy business that rely on clean air, land and water and/or a tranquil environment may suffer losses from this change, such as agriculture, tourism, organic farming, hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation.”
  • There is no mention of fracking or the infrastructure needs of such an industry in the Local Economic Plan (LEP). The LEP is the key economic body covering York, North Yorkshire and the East Riding. It covers the largest area of any LEP in the country
  • The LEP does mention the importance of the many small businesses, agri-tech businesses, bio-renewables and Malton having become a Food Enterprise Zone (FEZ). It also mentions the need to improve West to East road and rail infrastructure.
  • There is no doubt we do not have the infrastructure to enable the development of fracking. There are less than 10 miles of dual carriageway in Ryedale!

EFFECT ON HOMES

  • The Draft DEFRA Shale Gas Rural Economy Impacts Paper states that “House prices in close proximity to the drilling operations are likely to fall. There could be a 7% reduction in property values within one mile of an extraction site.”
  • Who will compensate local residents if they suffer losses on their properties, or they are unable to sell their house because it is too close to the well-site?
  • There are problems in respect of insurance of homes, buildings and land that may be affected by fracking as many insurers’ policies do not include any cover for any form of fracking damage. This will mean property owners would have to commence potentially costly and lengthy legal proceedings to obtain recompense for any damages.

FURTHER DEVELOPMENT

  • Third Energy say in their Public Consultation Brochure that they have a longer term development plan which “will require three or four more wells – probably a combination of our existing and new well-sites. We will need to drill lateral wells and hydraulically fracture the Bowland section.”
  • The Applicant should also be asked to clarify their long-term plans for the well-site, including how many new wells are to be drilled and how much more fracking would be required.

CUMULATIVE IMPACT

  • Of course should the application be approved, it will not be long before there are other applications for fracking but they will also need pipelines and processing plants. This one application already brings with it the promise of further applications. Any sites not connected to an existing pipeline will need to flare gas
  • There are already several gas wells in the area, including three on the Kirby Misperton site (including a reinjection well), and fracking will have a negative cumulative impact on what is a rural and tranquil area.
  • Third Energy already have permission to produce gas at Ebberston Moor, which will involve extra traffic and other disruption involved in the pipeline construction. They also have permission for an injection well at the site too.
  • They are also applying to expand their operations in nearby Pickering, another reinjection well is proposed to be combined into the existing borehole
  • There are other major projects in the area, such as the Potash Mine, which will generate extra traffic.
  • Approving fracking at Kirby Misperton will increase the creeping industrialisation of the area, which will affect the tourist industry
  • The cumulative effect of all developments in the area must be taken into consideration.

PRECEDENT

  • If this application is approved, it will be hard for the Council to reject any future fracking applications as a precedent will have been set.
  • This will result in hundreds of fracking wells across Ryedale and North Yorkshire. Since the announcement on the 14th round of Onshore Petroleum & Exploration Development Licensing, large parts of Yorkshire are now under threat of similar development proposals
  • Third Energy stated on 10th March 2015 that they were planning to establish 19 well-sites across Ryedale, with between 10 and 50 wells per site.
  • Allowing fracking at Kirby Misperton will open the door to this damaging and destructive industry across the rest of Yorkshire and other parts of the UK.

OPPOSITION BY LOCAL RESIDENTS AND LOCAL ELECTED BODIES

Local residents protesting against fracking, the largest event of its kind ever seen in Malton.

Local residents protesting against fracking, the largest event of its kind ever seen in Malton.

  • Ryedale District Council voted for a 5-year moratorium on fracking on 08 October 2015, which NYCC should take into consideration and respect the views of local people.
  • Also nearby Town Councils at Malton, Norton and Kirkbymoorside have passed anti-fracking motions, as have a number of Parish Councils in the area.
  • Many of these are Statutory Consultees to the planning application on which NYCC have to decide.
  • Subsequently on 15 March 2016, Ryedale District Council recommended to NYCC that they refuse the application – many of the Parish Councils and Town Councils have made the same recommendation.
  • It is clear that the majority of people in the area don’t want fracking. The Council should reject the application on the grounds that there is no social licence for the development.

NORTH YORKSHIRE MINERALS AND WASTE JOINT PLAN

  • The current Minerals and Waste Joint Plan for North Yorkshire does not include any guidelines whatsoever about fracking in the area. It would be inappropriate for the NYCC to even consider any such applications, at least until a new Waste and Minerals Plan has been approved and put in place.
  • The new Joint Minerals Waste Plan (JMWP) is currently in ‘awaiting a response to the consultation’ stage and is not properly formed at this stage. If this application is approved it will effectively form the JMWP for unconventional gas extraction. It is hard to understand why all Joint Members to the plan have not been consulted by the Mineral Planning Authority? For Example the City of York Council has not been considered a Consultee.

THE RYEDALE LOCAL PLAN

  • There is no mention of fracking in the Ryedale Plan, which is the blueprint for development in the area and includes such things as housing, roads and other developments. This proposed development is therefore in direct contravention of the Ryedale Plan and should be rejected. In fact on studying the plan it is inconceivable how such an industry could be granted permission to develop in Ryedale.

If there are other fracking-related issues you want to mention, then please do so, particularly any first-hand experience you have had of fracking, gas production or dealing with Third Energy, and any information on the dangers of fracking that you would like to share with the Planning Committee. The more personalised your objection is, the more powerful it will be.

Where do I send my objection to this planning application?

Emails should be sent to: km8application@northyorks.gov.uk Please put the application number in the subject line: NY/2015/0233/ENV You can write your objection in the body of the email, or attach it as a Word Document.

VERY IMPORTANT – if you object by email, you must still include your full name and postal address. Objections without a postal address will not be considered.

You can also object by post. Please send your letter to: Vicky Perkin, Planning Services, County Hall, Racecourse Lane, Northallerton, DL7 8AH. Please put the application number in body of the letter: NY/2015/0233/ENV

Again, you must include your surname, first name/initials and full postal address, including postcode. Anonymous comments will not be considered.

Please ask for your comments to be included on the County Council Planning Register at the beginning or end of your objection. You can also ask for your name, address, signature and other personal information to be removed before they post it on the website, so that these details are not available to be viewed by anyone else

And at the end of your objection, please remember to ask the County Council to reject the application.