Fracking at Ryedale–environmental groups seek to challenge consent

Fracking at Ryedale–environmental groups seek to challenge consent

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Tim Pugh, consultant in planning and environment at Berwin Leighton Paisner, examines in detail the background to the judicial review application to challenge North Yorkshire County Council’s decision to grant planning permission for fracking operations in the Ryedale District.

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What is the background to this story?

On 23 May 2016, North Yorkshire County Council decided to grant planning permission in its Ryedale District for hydraulic fracking operations at an existing onshore oil and gas field at Kirby Misperton. The applicant was Third Energy UK Gas Ltd.

The site is located above Bowland Shale geological formations—those highlighted by British Geological Survey as having a shale gas resource (gas in place—central estimate) of 1,329 trillion cubic feet.

The permission granted by North Yorkshire County Council has been challenged by Friends of the Earth and Frack Free Ryedale. A rolled up permission and substantive hearing has been set down for 22 and 23 November 2016. Coincidentally, the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement is scheduled to be on 23 November 2016 too.

What is the history of the site and it obtaining approval for fracking?

The Kirby Misperton site has a thirty-year history of onshore gas exploration and exploitation.
An exploratory well was drilled on the KM-A well-site in 1985 by Taylor Woodrow Exploration. Consent for the commercial production of gas from KM-A was granted in March 1993. Ten years after gas was first discovered, commercial production from Kirby Misperton and three other nearby gas fields began in 1995.

KM8, the subject of Third Energy’s application, is a well within an extension to the KM-A well-site granted planning permission, and consent to sink exploratory boreholes to a depth of 3,104 metres (10,184

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