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Fracking Working Group Homepage
About the Fracking Working Group
A working group is set up by the town council to deal with a specific issue – in this case fracking. It is a way of involving residents - together with one or more councillors - in exploring a locally important issue, providing information and finding out what local people think, and then reporting back to the town council. The group's specific terms of reference can be found on the menu to the left.
A working group does not have the power to make decisions on behalf of the Town Council, and it does not have to meet in public or to publish formal minutes; however, notes on the meetings and other activities will be published on the Fracking Working Group update page (see menu at top left).
Why has Helmsley Town Council set up the Fracking Working Group?
For two main reasons: firstly, because the government has awarded licences to energy companies that allow them to drill frack wells in many sites across Ryedale, and several of them are close to Helmsley. (You can find out more on our Licences Close to Helmsley page, above left.) Any application to frack will be received by the planning authority – either North Yorkshire County Council, or the National Park, depending on where it is - but when that happens, local people will be able to give their views on the application. The Town Council will also be able to submit comments on behalf of residents.
Secondly, at the same time as these licences were published (August 2015), the government also announced that planning decisions about fracking could be taken out of the hands of local planning authorities if they take more than 16 weeks to come to a decision. To read more about that announcement on a government website, click here.
Having your say
The Town Council is therefore concerned that when a planning application is received for the Helmsley area, there may be little time for local people to inform themselves and take part in the consultation, or for the Town Council to gain a clear understanding about the views of residents.
The Fracking Working Group is a way of keeping both residents and councillors up to date about any important developments and of finding out more about the thoughts and concerns of local people so that we can respond promptly and effectively to any fracking-related consultation. You can read more about what Helmsley Town Council has done so far in relation to fracking on our Informing and Consulting about Fracking page.
If you would like to find out more about different aspects of fracking, we have provided a list of links on our Fracking Information and Opinion page.