With nearly 40% of Yorkshire’s land area currently licenced for oil and gas development, the Government’s recent Written Ministerial Statement (WMS) on the industry has generated considerable concern.

Key impacts of the WMS are on the planning system and include:

  • Consulting this Summer on whether to grant permitted development rights (PDR) for “non-hydraulic fracturing shale exploration development”. PDR is normally reserved for small-scale non-intrusive buildings such as garden sheds but under this new regime could see exploration wells being built over many months with dozens of truck movements a day and considerable noise impacts not requiring planning permission.
  • The Government will also consult on whether to make production-scale fracking a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project thus removing the final decision making powers from local councils.
  • Steps to prevent local councils setting restrictions (such as North Yorkshire’s recent enhanced protection from frackign within 500m of people’s homes) without proper justification.

Friends of the Earth has described the proposals as a “perversion of the planning process” and have launched an online petition to oppose the changes.

Meanwhile, key developments across Yorkshire on frackign include:

  • INEOS have been granted planning permission by the Planning Inspector to explore for shale gas at their proposed site in Harthill near Rotherham. Local residents have set up a crowd-funding site to raise funds to legally challenge the decision.
  • INEOS have also re-applied for an exploration site at Woodsetts (also in Rotherham). Rotherham Council refused permission for an almost identical application earlier this year.
  • At Kirby Misperton, Third Energy are still waiting for an assessment from the Government on their financial resilience before they can proceed to frack the KM8 well.

Take Action: Sign the Friends of the Earth petition to let communities decide