Fracking has destructive effects on the environment and communities, photo Casey Hugelfink (Creatvie Commons)

Fracking has destructive effects on the environment and communities, photo Casey Hugelfink (Creatvie Commons)   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

John Sibbald, Wakefield and Pontefract Socialist Party and Frack Free Wakefield District

A Yorkshire council has permitted the UK’s first fracking operation since 2011.

Studies have found that in other countries, the shale gas extraction method has poisoned water supplies and heightened earthquake risk.

At a two-day meeting of the North Yorkshire County Council Planning Committee, hundreds protested. They were objecting to an application by Third Energy, 97% owned by Barclays bank, to frack for gas in Ryedale.

The first day was taken up with the many objectors giving evidence. The next day was the turn of Third Energy.

Their stooges told us that fracking is completely safe and that health and safety regulations here are far too tough to allow any of the problems seen in America or Australia. They argue that gas has been produced in Ryedale for over twenty years. This is, however, by conventional drilling, not hydraulic fracturing.


Now, Third Energy and their masters at Barclays have decided the conventional method is not good enough. They want a boost to their profits, which they believe they can only get from fracking.

North Yorkshire Council is dominated by Tories, and none of the planning committee are from the Ryedale area. So it was no surprise they voted seven to four in favour of Third Energy’s application.

This decision could open the floodgates to fracking in other areas. Third Energy is already looking to drill another 19 wells in Ryedale.

The Socialist Party opposes fracking, and fights for public ownership of energy and mass investment in green technology. Fracking is destructive wherever it happens. Anti-fracking campaigners must call for a ban on it everywhere – not just, as some prominent activists are demanding, in places of scenic beauty.

  • ‘Planning for the Planet’ – socialism and the environment: £9.95 from