Fracking: Reactions to High Court giving Third Energy the go-ahead to frack in Yorkshire

Francesca Washtell
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Third Energy first put in an application to frack in Yorkshire in 2014 (Source: Getty)

Anti-fracking campaigners lost a legal bid to halt fracking in Yorkshire today, after the High Court gave a green light to developer Third Energy.

The energy firm started the application process for a shale gas fracking permit in 2014, which was granted by North Yorkshire County Council in May this year.

Here are some of the reactions that have followed the unsuccessful result of Friends of the Earth, Jackie Cray and David Davis' judicial review:

Third Energy

In a statement, the company behind the fracking process said:

Third Energy is pleased that the court has found that North Yorkshire County Council acted properly in granting planning permission for test fracs at the existing KM8 well in Ryedale. The council set 40 conditions to the grant of planning permission which the company is well on its way to satisfying. It is worth remembering that we are nearly two years into a planning application process for a proposed operation that would take less than three months to complete.

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Friends of the Earth

Donna Hume, a campaigner for the group (which has been ordered to pay £10,000 in costs), said:

The High Court has ruled that fracking can go ahead in beautiful Yorkshire, and we must rise to this latest challenge.

The judge found that North Yorkshire Councillors had assessed the impacts of climate change. But we know that climate change was barely mentioned at that crucial council meeting where the decision to allow fracking was taken, and more damningly, that councillors didn't have the information about the total carbon emissions produced from the fracking project.

Residents have said they will continue to do everything they can to peacefully prevent Barclays’ owned Third Energy from fracking, and we will be standing with them.

Green Party

In a tweet, the Green Party said the decision to go ahead with fracking was "expensive, dangerous and unnecessary":

Read more: High Court to decide on North Yorkshire fracking judicial review

Michael Bradshaw, professor of global energy at Warwick Business School

The UK’s emergent shale gas industry may look back at 2016 as a turning point in their campaign to explore the country's shale gas potential.

For the environmental groups and community activists this latest decision will be seen as further proof that the regulatory system is stacked in favour of the industry, as is the government, who are willing to overturn the decisions made by locally elected politicians.

Community activists talk about the industry failing to gain a so-called social licence to operate. But the reality is that such a licence has no legal standing and locals have a limited voice in the planning process. All they can do is challenge decisions via the courts and that does not seem to be working in their favour.

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Mike Pocock, energy and planning partner at Pinsent Masons

After high profile and lengthy delays this positive result for Third Energy could be the shot in the arm needed to boost investment into the nascent energy industry.

Indeed, the site at Kirby Misperton has been given the go ahead by members of the planning committee and while legal due process must allow for legal challenge, the clear and decisive steer from the courts to this potentially transformational industry will go a long way to demonstrate support for the nascent energy source.


Hannah Martin, Greenpeace energy campaigner, said:

With public support for fracking at an all time low and hundreds of campaign groups like Frack Free Ryedale across the UK, national government, local government and fracking companies shouldn’t underestimate the strength of feeling on this issue.

The fight for local democracy and prioritisation of clean energy will continue until all levels of government show support for renewable technologies, and stop prioritising fracking. We want innovation and job creation, not noise, air and light pollution.

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