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Informing and consulting about fracking

What has Helmsley Town Council done so far in relation to fracking?

We have had articles about fracking in the Town Council's newsletters - one in Spring 2015 and two in Autumn 2015. 

In August 2015, in response to a letter from a Helmsley resident, we had a discussion at a Council meeting and then wrote an email to the Planning Dept at NYCC which was copied to Amber Rudd, Secretary of State at the Dept of Energy and Climate Change, and to Kevin Hollinrake MP. 

In September 2015 the Town Council held an Extraordinary Meeting to discuss the application to frack at Kirby Misperton. At the meeting, the Town Council resolved to write a letter of objection to the application and also voted in favour of a 5 year moratorium on fracking, to allow time for rigorous independent evaluation of the evidence. The full text of  the Town Council's response to the application was attached as an Appendix to the minutes of the following meeting, and can be read here. All the five towns in Ryedale have now voted in support of a moratorium.

In November, the Town Council supported the Fracking and Helmsley information event at the Town Hall, and two councillors (Erica Rose and Chris Parkin) contributed to the displays.

This was a very successful event, and a large amount of feedback was received from people who attended it. Councillor Rose’s report to the Council about the information event includes a full transcript of the feedback received, and can be read here.

 

On 8th April the Fracking Working Group put on a display in Helmsley Market Place which included all the information that was on these pages at the time. The same information was also put together in a file that residents can access in the library.

 

The stall was well-attended and many people left written comments. 

You can read the full list of comments here.

 

Helmsley Town Council's Spring newsletter
- included an article telling people who may not have internet access how to access the same information that is on these pages, in our file in the library.

 

On 11th May, Energy Company Ineos gave a presentation in Malton for Town and Parish Councillors which Councillor Rose attended on behalf of Helmsley. A huge amount of information was presented verbally in addition to a Powerpoint presentation which you can see here - it includes some good pictures of what fracking will look like. You can also click here to see notes taken by Councillor Rose, including the responses to a number of questions that were asked.

The Councillors' Fracking Information Network, which was set up by Councillor Rose, offers a way for Councillors across Ryedale to discuss the information presented at this event. They can use the network to share ideas and to support one another in the task of informing and consulting with residents, and in representing their communities in relation to fracking.

 

20th/23rd May: Ryedale's first fracking planning application 
Councillor Erica Rose attended the planning committee meeting at County Hall on May 20th and 23rd on behalf of Helmsley Town Council, and spoke in opposition to the granting of planning permission to frack at Kirby Misperton (KM8). The text of her speech was as follows:

"As a Town Councillor in Helmsley, I have over the last year done my best to inform and consult with local people about fracking. Because nobody else seemed to be doing that.

I looked for impartial and rigorous research evidence about fracking and turned it into an information event. I used the Town Council website and the parish newsletter to tell people about the plans and how they could find out more and have a say. I put a fact file in our library and an information stall in our market.

And in the process I not only talked to a lot of people, but also gained 88 pieces of written feedback about fracking.

Three of them were in favour. Of the other 85, the vast majority viewed fracking as a menace. To the environment generally and to water quality in particular. To our rural economy and the livelihoods that depend on it – people spoke of their fear that the first consent granted would release a genii that could never be put back into its bottle.

But one other theme that came up again and again, was democracy. Or rather a loss of faith in democracy – I would go so far as to say a sense of betrayal. And that is where the irony lies, because – as par.5.37 of the planning report underlines, you have been told to ignore all of the concerns that I have just mentioned. They are not ‘planning matters’ – or else the regulators must be assumed to be effective - and government policy is none of our business.

However, there are some ‘planning matters’ that you are allowed to decide about, and on some of those you may perhaps find yourself with an evenly balanced choice – you could say yes, you could say no.

Members of the committee, when that happens, please remember the deep and valid concerns expressed so clearly by those who depend on you for representation. Your hands may be tied so that you cannot act for us directly in some issues, but in matters where you are able to act for us – please – act for us and use whatever means are left to you to refuse this application."

Unfortunately, the application to frack at Kirby Misperton was passed by a majority of 7 to 4.