Fracking company Third Energy’s planning application to frack at their KM8 well in Kirby Misperton has failed to be validated by the North Yorkshire County Council – for the second time.
What happened the first time?
Third Energy first fracking application was refused by the NYCC because of numerous failures and omissions, which were detailed in a nine-page letter from the Council. For more details on this and to download a copy of the letter, please go to our Third Energy webpage.
So what’s happened now?
The company went away, re-did the application, and resubmitted it on or around Friday 3rd July. Then on 20th July, The North Yorkshire County Council released a letter to Third Energy outlining the reasons why they were unable to validate their planning application second time. The main reasons are relating to the posting of Notices of the application, which is a legal requirement for any such planning application.
You can read the full letter from the NYCC by clicking on the link below:
So what was the problem with the application this time round?
The key issues are listed below, with quotes from the NYCC letter in italics with page references:
1 The description of the proposed development that appeared in the local press and on-site notices was materially different to the description that was included on the planning application form.
“The descriptions of the proposed development within each of the notices differ from that which appears within Section 6 of the submitted application form.” (Ltter, p3)
“The two descriptions are considered to be materially different and thereby render the notices deficient in that they do not adequately inform the recipients/readers of the notices as prescribed.” (p3)
2 Failure to say where the relevant documents were available for inspection by interested parties.
“The Site Notice you have provided should have detailed where the relevant documents were available for inspection pursuant to the notice which occurs prior to submission of the application. It should be noted that the prescribed notice in Schedule 2 states “the applicant is responsible for making the application available for inspection within the area of the local planning authority”; however, there has been no evidence submitted with the application to demonstrate compliance with this requirement.” (p3)
3 Failure to provide landowners near the site complete and accurate information regarding the proposed development.
“Having reviewed the application documents, the letter that is stated to have been served on a known owner of land does not cover all the points which are set down within the form as prescribed in Article 13.” (p2)
“Although the requirements allow for some scope to vary from the notice in Schedule 2 these omissions lead to a view that the notice is not ‘substantially to the same effect’ and is not ‘requisite notice’.” (p2)
4 Failure to provide notification of ‘winning and working minerals underground, which is a legal requirement. (Please see page 2 of the attached letter for an explanation of ‘winning and working’ in this context).
“A site notice pertaining to the winning and working of minerals by underground operations is also required” (p2)
5 Using the Site Notice form for their advertisement in the Malton Gazette & Herald instead of the press form. This resulted in some information being omitted from the press ad. e.g. the rights of owners and tenants of land.
“It appears that the Site Notice prescribed form has been used for this purpose rather than the template for the newspaper advert. The relevant notice is … should cover issues covered by that Form and elements are missing (the rights of owners or tenants of land), there are also issues regarding the inspection of documents/and the description of the development.” (p2)
So it seems that they still don’t know how to fill in forms or follow simple instructions.
Indeed. And if they can’t even do the paperwork properly, why should they be allowed to frack under the North Yorkshire countryside?
Was there anything else interesting in the NYCC letter?
Funny you should ask that. Another interesting point in the letter is that Third Energy have requested “an extraordinary meeting of the Planning and Regulatory Functions Committee in November 2015 where this application can be considered in detail and in isolation.”
Why would Third Energy ask that? They haven’t even managed to fill in the forms correctly yet.
November is four months away, and Planning Guidelines state that County Councils should try and decide on applications that include an Environmental Impact Assessment within sixteen weeks of the application being ‘duly made’. One can only assume that they’re trying to put pressure on the Council to deal with this application as quickly as possible.
That’s a bit cheeky. What was the council’s response?
They played this with a straight bat, saying that “such an undertaking may only be given at a point of time when it is considered that a position has been reached whereby a report may be prepared and is ready to present to Members (of the Planning Committee.).”
So the Council are saying that they can’t decide on when this meeting will take place yet, partly because they haven’t received a valid application yet?
Exactly. The NYCC do not object in principle to holding an extraordinary meeting to discuss this application, which is what one might expect anyway, given the amount of opposition this will attract and the ‘high level of public interest’ involved (that means you).
So are Third Energy going to be allowed to have a third go at this application?
Probably. But because they have failed to post the correct Public Notices or informed local landowners in the correct manner, they will probably to go through this ‘public notification’ process again. This means that they will need to re-issue letters to landowners near the well, post new advertisements in the local press, etc.
And as there is a statutory 21 day period between posting this information and applying to the Council, this will probably have delayed the application for at least a month or so, or possibly longer.
I must admit, this company doesn’t fill me with confidence that they have a clue what they are doing.
You may say that. We couldn’t possibly comment.
So what can I do to help?
Frack Free Ryedale urgently need funds to help fight this application, assuming it finally manages to be validated by the NYCC. Please donate whatever you can afford by going to our Donations page.
To receive newsletters and updates as the story unfolds, please go to the bottom of the home page and join our mailing list. We will send you details of how you can object as soon as we have more information, and also keep you informed of other developments.
Thanks for reading to the end – and apologies to Moe, Curly and Larry, aka The Three Stooges!