An application to carry out fracking in England for the first time since a ban was lifted in 2012 has been approved.

North Yorkshire County Council considered a bid by Third Energy to extract shale gas at a site near Kirby Misperton in Ryedale.

Hundreds of protestors had attended a meeting in Northallerton to voice anger at the project, which was previously recommended for approval.

Councillors on the council’s planning committee voted 7-4 in favour.

Live updates from today’s meeting

The meeting has heard a number of objections from people opposed to the plans.

Supporters including landowners, farmers and Third Energy employees also had their say.

Fracking is the process of drilling down into the earth before a high-pressure water mixture is directed at rock to release the gas inside.

Opponents say it can cause water contamination, earthquakes and noise and traffic pollution.

Immediately after the vote, North Yorkshire Police tweeted a warning to protesters.

It read: “Please be aware, the police will take action against unlawful behaviour linked to the #nyshale protest.”

After the decisionm, campaigners gathered outside County Hall in Northallerton chanting “we say no”.

Rasik Valand, chief executive of Third Energy said the approval meant the firm now had “a huge responsibility”.

“We will have to deliver on our commitment, made to the committee and to the people of Ryedale, to undertake this operation safely and without impacting on the local environment,” he said.

Campaign group Frack Off said: “These plans could pave the way for thousands of fracking wells to spread across Yorkshire and many other parts of the country if not stopped.

“Impacts, including pipelines, air pollution and waste disposal will spread far beyond the areas being drilled.

“Third Energy’s plans in Ryedale are the thin end of a very large wedge.”

No fracking has taken place in the UK since 2011, when tests on the Fylde coast were found to have been the probable cause of minor earthquakes in the area.

Since then, two high-profile applications to frack in Lancashire have been rejected by councillors and are now the subject of appeals.

Third Energy wants to frack for shale gas using an existing two-mile deep well – called KM8 – drilled in 2013 close to the North York Moors National Park. They could start by the end of the year.

Andy Mortimer, the company’s subsurface director, told the committee fracking at Kirby Misperton was “highly unlikely to cause any sort of earth tremor”, describing the area as “seismically benign”

He said Third Energy would operate a safety system that would halt operations if a seismic event measuring above 0.5 on the Richter Scale occurred, adding that “trains cause seismic signals several orders of magnitude greater than our proposed threshold”.

The firm already had licences to produce gas in North Yorkshire and offshore in the North Sea.

Source: Landmark North Yorkshire fracking vote approved – BBC News

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