NO SOCIAL LICENCE: 99.2% against fracking at KM8

no social licence 4Documents from the NYCC reveal that only 0.8% of respondents to the council’s KM8 Public Consultation wrote in support of fracking, while 99.2% wrote to oppose the application.

According to the NYCC Chief Planning Officer’s report, which recommended approval of Third Energy’s application to frack at their KM8 well-site in Kirby Misperton, only 32 letters or e-mails supported the application, compared to 3,907 representations that opposed it.

The full figures for representations were as follows:

– Total number of representations received – over 4,200
– Numbers without addresses – 11
– Multiple representations were made by 342 individuals (note that this is perfectly legal and probably occurred because people responded to more than one consultation, as they are entitled to do – there were four public consultations periods in total)
CiV-pgmWkAAH1_5[2]– Number of respondents who neither objected or supported fracking: 11
– Number of respondents who supported the application: 32
– Number of respondents who opposed the application: 3,907

These figures can be accessed on the Planning Officer’s Report, p82, paragraphs 5.4 and 5.5. If you click on the link, it’s the middle PDF ending CPO REPORT.


Distribution of objections near Kirby Misperton - in the middle of this map - with objections in red and letters of support in green. There are three letters of support from Pickering and Malton.

Distribution of objections near Kirby Misperton – in the middle of this map – with objections in red and letters of support in green. There are three letters of support from Pickering and Malton.

There was not a single letter of support for Third Energy’s planning application from any of the four villages which lie within a mile of the well-site, which are Kirby Misperton, Great and Little Barugh and Great Habton, although there were numerous representations from the local area opposing the development [see map on right]. Which begs the question – if not a single person in the area supports the application, should it be approved or rejected?

The application has also been opposed by numerous anti-fracking groups, public bodies, businesses and councils, such as the Ryedale District Council, Flamingo Land, The Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, CPRE, Friends of the Earth, Ampleforth Abbey, Malton and Helmsley Town Councils, the Pickering Civic Society, Yorkshire Cycling Groups, numerous Parish Councils (including those representing the villages near the site), ex-Ryedale MP Baroness Anne McIntosh, and thousands more landowners, businesses and residents.

The only two organisations that supported the application were Friends of Ryedale Gas Exploration (FORGE), who are known to have very close ties to the fracking industry and Third Energy, and Backing Fracking, which are a small pro-fracking group based in Lancashire.


Distribution of objections - in red - and letters of support - in green across North Yorkshire.

Distribution of objections (in red) and letters of support (in green) across the north of England. North Yorkshire is indicated by the green line.

The majority of objections came from residents of Ryedale and North Yorkshire, and there were also objections from many other parts of the UK, which reflects the national interest in the application in areas such as Lancashire, which are also threatened by fracking. Many observers are concerned that if fracking is allowed at Kirby Misperton, it will set a precedent that will make the process more likely elsewhere. Letters of support also came from other parts of the country, including Lincolnshire, Lancashire and Bath.

Revd Graham Cray, who lives in Kirby Misperton and has been leading the fight against the application, said, “This shows very clearly that there is no social licence for fracking in this area. However, the NYCC Planning Officers appear to have completely ignored the widespread opposition to fracking in Ryedale and across North Yorkshire by recommending approval. If any other type of application had received nearly 4,000 objections and only 32 letters of support, it would already be dead in the water.”

Objection distribution across the UK. Objections in red, letters of support in green.

Objection distribution across the UK. Objections in red, letters of support in green.

Ryedale District Councillor Di Keal added, “The NYCC Planning Committee should take heed of the thousands of objections, including those from the Ryedale District Council, Flamingo Land, the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and numerous Town and Parish Councils, and reject the application. To approve fracking in Ryedale against such widespread opposition would fly in the face of local democracy, and such a decision would not be seen as legitimate by the people of Yorkshire.”

So, the question is – will the County Councillors take heed of the overwhelming weight of public opinion against fracking in Yorkshire, or will they decide that the opposition of 99.2% of respondents is not a ‘material objection’?

Or, to put it another way, does what the public, local councils, businesses and residents want to happen to their countryside, their land and their villages really matter to the NYCC, or do the requirements of this damaging and polluting industry override all local opposition, however strong and united it may be?

To find out what happens, please come along to the D-Day Demonstration in Northallerton on Friday 20th May to join people from all over Yorkshire to call for the application to be rejected.

And if you can’t make it, please donate to our KM8 Fighting Fund – we need money to pay for the demonstration and to continue the fight against fracking in North Yorkshire.

Finally, for downloadable NO SOCIAL LICENCE posters to bring with you to the demonstration, or to put up in your window, please click on the links below.



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