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Legal action launched on behalf of Frack Free Ryedale and Friends of the Earth

Countryside near North Yorks Moors National Park under threat

Posted on 07 July 2016

Lawyers acting for local resident group Frack Free Ryedale and Friends of the Earth have launched a legal challenge to the decision by North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) to allow fracking near the North Yorks Moors National Park.
Lawyers Richard Stein and Rowan Smith have today applied to the High Court for a judicial review of the decision on the grounds that:

  • The council has failed to properly assess the climate change impact of the fracking through its failure to consider the environmental impact of burning the shale gas extracted to create electricity at a nearby power station in Knapton;
  • The council has failed to secure long term financial protection from the fracking company against environmental damage of the area.

The planning committee granted approval for plans to frack for shale gas, the first fracking operating to be approved in England since a ban was lifted in 2012.

Leigh Day argues that the decision taken by NYCC on 23 May was unlawful.
The consultation exercise carried out by the council on the fracking plans resulted in over 99% of respondents rejecting the plans.  Despite this almost total rejection of fracking in Ryedale the council voted to allow Third Energy, which is owned by Barclays, to frack in Kirby Misperton, Ryedale.
Simon Bowens, Yorkshire and Humber campaigner for Friends of the Earth, said:
“Shale gas is a dirty fossil fuel and it is the responsibility of North Yorkshire County Council to require a full assessment of the impact this fracking application would have on the climate. They failed to do that, and this is why we believe the courts need to consider the way that this decision was arrived at by 7 councillors in May.”
The case will now proceed to the Permission Stage where the Court will decide whether or not a full hearing should be carried out. This is likely to happen in the next few weeks.
Leigh Day partner Richard Stein said:
“Nearly everyone who responded to the council’s fracking consultation in Ryedale rejected the plans.
“Local residents believe that fracking carries serious risk, including to their health, water supply, and to the local environment.”