District Councillors have sent a clear message to North Yorkshire County Council that hydraulic fracturing is not welcome in Ryedale.
In a council chamber packed with over 100 anti-fracking campaigners, Planning Committee members voted to recommend to the county council, who will make the final decision on the Third Energy application to frack at Kirby Misperton, that they refuse planning permission.
Speaking after the meeting, Sue Gough, whose home is just two miles from the proposed site where Third Energy want to frack at Kirby Misperton, said:
“I am delighted that the Ryedale District Council Planning Committee has listened to the views of local residents, who are overwhelmingly against fracking coming to Ryedale, and sent a strong message to the North Yorkshire County Council against it granting this planning permission.
“A dark cloud will hang over Ryedale until the final decision is made in Northallerton, but I hope the county councillors will take a lead from Ryedale and reject the application from Third Energy.
“The risks associated with fracking in terms of health and well-being, wrecking of the environment and irreparable damage to our tourism, agriculture and other business is too high a price to pay and do they really want to be remembered as the committee who brought about the destruction of the beautiful area that we live in?”
Councillor Di Keal said:
“This was a great decision by members of the planning committee who have sent a resounding message to the county council that we don’t want to see this hugely damaging industry decimate Ryedale.
“But this is just one hurdle – the bigger battle will come when the County Council meet to make a decision on the Third Energy application next month. This is one of the biggest decisions that county council members will ever have to make which will have a major impact on the area for generations to come. I hope that they will listen carefully to the views of the local people they represent.
“Ryedale has shown that this is shouldn’t be a party political decision – tonight’s decision had cross-party support – it should be made on what is right for Ryedale residents now and in the future”.
And the final word from Ryedale District Council… ‘Recommendation to NYCC that Ryedale District Council recommends refusal of the application. The proposed development is likely to have significant adverse impacts in relation to noise, air quality, ecology, disposal of waste water, additional disturbance from HGVs and likely detrimental impacts on the tourist economy. The proposal is therefore contrary to planning policies contained in the adopted Ryedale Plan – Local Plan Strategy’.
The day after the Government voted to allow fracking under national parks and other protected areas, they announced that they have awarded 159 new PEDL licences, including most of north Yorkshire and Ryedale. You can read more about this on Drill or Drop.
In Ryedale 15 new PEDL licences were awarded to INEOS, 16 to Cuadrilla and another 3 to Third Energy. To find out who has got the new licences all over the UK, please click here.
A spokesperson for Frack Free Ryedale, said: “This is a very black day for North Yorkshire, which has now been officially designated a Fracking Sacrifice Zone in the government’s relentless but misguided dash for gas. If local people haven’t been worried about fracking up to now because it’s not happening on their doorstep, then it is time for them to wake up and smell the methane. Fracking is now on everyone’s doorstep.” You can read more reaction to the news here.
On Wednesday 17th December the notorious statutory instrument was passed by a ballot vote in the House of Commons, which means that fracking is now allowed under National Parks, AONBs, SSSIs, Ramsar Sites, World Heritage sites and all drinking water aquifers. The only catch is that the fracking companies have to set up their drilling rigs just outside the boundaries of these protected areas and drill horizontally underneath.
The vote was carried by 291 votes to 268. To find our more who voted for what, please click here.
Thirsk and Malton MP Kevin Hollinrake finally showed his true pro-fracking colours by voting IN FAVOUR OF the legislation, despite acknowledging recently in an interview with the Gazette and Herald that the majority of people in Ryedale are against fracking. While this was not a surprise to many people in his constituency, particularly after he was seen chairing a Third Energy PR meeting in Kirby Misperton at a time when he was still claiming he had ‘an open mind’ on the subject, this vote confirms that he is simply trying to make sure fracking happens in Ryedale, whatever his constituents think.
After the vote, Labour’s Energy Minister Lisa Nandy called for a moratorium on fracking, given the lack of evidence that it is safe and the potential threat to the environment.
A fracking report the Government tried to keep secret reveals the true damage that fracking could do to rural economies.
An internal Defra report on the effects of fracking on the rural economy was published last year, but was so heavily redacted that it was utterly meaningless. The full, unredacted version has finally came out – and it’s explosive stuff.
Friends of the earth have reported that “The Government was forced to publish it after an appeal to the Information Commissioner, but no doubt were happy to keep it quiet until after Lancashire County Council’s votes on fracking”
The original 13page ‘redacted; report contained 63 sections that were blanked out.
Only three paragraphs of the Conclusions survived. Even the name of the author was removed. Most bizarrely, officials claimed that there was a “strong public interest” in withholding the information … from the public!
Source: Daily Mail
What did the ‘unredacted’ report reveal?
“The DEFRA report determines that property valuation declines will vary based on the proximity to a drilling site. For instance, house prices within 1 mile of drilling operations could potentially fall by up to 4-7%, based on the Boxall (2005) et. al report, if they were within 2.5 miles of wells.
In May, the first extensive estate agents’ survey, carried out by the research agency Redshift, found that two thirds (67%) of estate agents interviewed said fracking operations could bring down house prices.A majority of them estimate the loss in value to be more than 8-11%, with two agents putting it as high as 41-70%.  Estate agents in areas in which energy firms have applied to start fracking – in Lancashire, Manchester and Sussex – were questioned and one in four said that buyers had expressed concerns about fracking.More than half of the estate agents surveyed said they were concerned fracking could reduce property sales near potential fracking sites.
In Lancashire, some property owners have already seen 50-100% write-offs in value. Last year, Dianna Westgarth said the price of her house on the Fylde peninsula in Lancashire – just 300 yards from a site where drilling firm Cuadrilla wants to start fracking – had dropped by 70%. 
In August, a spokesperson for the Valuation Office Agency – which sets the values of properties for council tax purposes – admitted that commercial activities such as fracking could reduce their value.  He said, “Fracking is not widespread yet but if a new site had a knock-on effect on the value of the house then it could also affect the council tax banding.” The DEFRA report states that in the USA, Pennsylvania properties within 1.4 miles of wells, lost up to 12.9% of their value when the frackers arrived.
The DEFRA report states that properties near fracking operations may incur an additional cost of insurance to cover “losses in case of explosion on the site.” Based on this information, home insurance providers should be asked what effect fracking might have on insurance premiums, considering the high risk of earthquakes. Last week, the Oklahoma State Supreme Court has decided that homeowners whose dwellings suffer damage due to fracking-related earthquakes can sue the companies responsible. 
In addition, mortgage providers should be asked how property valuations for mortgages would be effected by fracking. Some mortgage providers in the USA refuse to consider properties within fracking zones.  One of the lenders involved, Quicken Loans, said, “In some cases conditions exist, such as gas wells and other structures in nearby lots, that can significantly degrade a property’s value.”  If you can’t get a mortgage on a property, it pretty much becomes unsellable.
The government has not only failed to further investigate the potential extent of damage caused to the economy; upon producing this report, they have then proceeded to sweep their own findings under the carpet and plead ignorance.”
Source & image – Talk Fracking
The DEFRA report finds that tourism and other sectors may lose business due to increased congestion and noise, and new perceptions about the region; reducing the number of visitors and an associated reduction in spend in the local tourism economy. It states that rural community businesses such as agriculture, tourism, organic farming, hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation, which rely on clean air, land, water, and/or a tranquil environment; may suffer losses.
Government figures show that in 2010, tourism in predominantly rural areas was valued at £10.7 billion Gross Value Added (GVA) – the amount of goods and services that have been produced by this sector, minus all expenses directly attributable to the industry. Any decline in tourism would have a massive impact on rural economies because tourism accounts for 5.1% of the total GVA in rural areas. 
Source & image – Talk Fracking
Health: Water, noise, light and air pollution
People could experience the consequences of surface water contamination from fracking — not from drinking water but “it can affect human health indirectly through consumption of contaminated wildlife, livestock, or agricultural products”.
Noise and light pollution from rigs could also lead to problems, the internal Defra report acknowledges. It says: “Some residents may experience deafening noise; light pollution that affects sleeping patterns.”
“Noxious odours from venting gases can also impact on air quality for local residents,” it adds.
Truck movements to and from the site – about 14 to 51 journeys a day over a period of weeks – could also impact air pollution and noise.
And if you have resulting health problems you might find your local services stretched with the additional demand from the influx of fracking workers.
The report says that it’s unclear whether the extra funding given to communities “will be sufficient to meet the additional demand if new schools or hospitals are needed to ensure service provision for existing rural communities is maintained”.
source – greenpeace
Money: Housing and jobs
So, your house might be worth up to 7% less if you live within a mile of a fracking site (though other estimates say 10% or even up to 70% of the value could be wiped off) — and you might have to pay more for your house insurance in case of an explosion on site.
Fracking is also a mixed bag for local economies — short term benefits belie costs in terms of industries including “agriculture, tourism, organic farming, hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation.”
The report also highlights concerns about what happens to local economies after the frackers leave.
In case local people were thinking of working in the fracking industry, there is also uncertainty over “how sustainable the shale gas investments will be in the future and whether rural communities have the right mix of skills to take advantage of the new jobs and wider benefits on offer”.
And at a time of deep cuts to DECC, the Environment Agency and HSE – the people responsible for regulating the fracking industry – it is tricky that the report recommends that “regulatory capacity may need to be increased”.
A Defra statement said: “This document was drawn up as a draft internal discussion paper – it is not analytically robust, has not been peer-reviewed and remains incomplete.
“It does not contain any new data or evidence, and many of the conclusions amount to unsubstantiated conjecture, which do not represent the views of officials or ministers.”
source – greenpeace
Here’s the full ‘unredacted’ report.
The sections that were previously redacted are highlighted in red
also click here for the full version in PDF
Hundreds of anti-fracking campaigners outside the county hall in Preston, where the verdict was announced, reacted with delight and cheers, and people in the council chamber applauded.
The surprise rejection is for a site at Preston New Road, near Little Plumpton on the Fylde, where Cuadrilla had hoped to drill four wells and undertake exploratory fracking for shale gas. The Council had already refused permission for Cuadrilla to frack at Roseacre last week.
A major new scientific study has concluded that the controversial gas extraction technique known as fracking poses a “significant” risk to human health and British wildlife, and that an EU-wide moratorium should be implemented until widespread regulatory reform is undertaken.
The damning report by the CHEM Trust, the British charity that investigates the harm chemicals cause humans and wildlife, highlights serious shortcomings in the UK’s regulatory regime, which the report says will only get worse as the Government makes further budget cuts.
It also warns of severe risks to human health if the new Conservative government tries to fast-track fracking of shale gas across the UK. The “scale of commercial fracking” unleashed by the Government’s eagerness to exploit the technique “should not be underestimated”, it cautions.
Read more in the Independent on Sunday.
You can read the CHEM Trust report on their website.
The fracking trade organisation UKOOG have criticised the report, read the CHEM Trust’s response.
The application was originally posted on 22nd May, and it was expected that it would be validated within 48 hours. The delay is a blow to the energy company, who have had months to polish their application after a scoping opinion was posted earlier in the year.
Frack Free Ryedale are demanding to know why the application failed its validation test and has called on Third Energy to come clean on what went wrong. Chris Redston of Frack Free Ryedale commented, “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’.”
Russell Scott, of Frack Free North Yorkshire, added, “If Third Energy can’t even get the paperwork right, what chance is there that they would be able to frack safely?”
You can read a report on this in the Gazette & Herald.
The first extensive estate agents’ survey in Lancashire, Manchester and Sussex – areas in which energy firms have applied to start extracting shale gas – showed that two thirds of respondents thought house prices would suffer.
The majority of agents thought the loss of value per property could be as much as 10pc, while a handful estimated that prices could fall by up to 70pc.
Read the full report in the Telegraph.
We have recently made enquiries with the NFU regarding their policy cover in relation to fracking-related accidents.
They have confirmed that you are not fully covered if there is an accident/contamination on your land which is caused by fracking activity on a third party site. There are exclusions and limitations.
We urge all farmers and landowners to check with their insurance providers (particularly if it is with the NFU) on the specific exclusions and limitations of individual policies.
Your insurance cover may not be fit for purpose.
For more information on the potential accident and contamination risks from fracking, please visit our dedicated farmers and landowners page.
A Film Night Social was held in Hovingham 4th March with residents from surrounding villages including Terrington, Slingsby, Nunnington and Stonegrave.
65 people watched Groundswell RISING, a one hour compelling documentary about the human side of fracking.
Coffee and home made cakes were provided generous by artizan supporters.
FFR merchandise including badges, car stickers and bags were sold on the evening.
All proceeds were earmarked in support of our neighbours and friends in Kirby Misperton for the planning objection. (We estimate we will need as much as £15,000 to prepare a detailed technical objection.) More than £300 was generously donated on the night. Our list of Businesses and Landowners against fracking is growing by the day.
The next film night will be in Kirby Misperton Village Hall, 11th March.
Thanks for everyone’s support tonight.