East Riding of Yorkshire Council

eryc-logoEast Riding of Yorkshire Council (ERYC) has a page about fracking on its website.

The ERYC Planning Committee will decide on any Planning Applications for exploratory drill sites in the East Riding.

In June 2016 ERYC Resolved a Motion “concerned about” fracking.

This followed a day long event for ERYC Councillors at County Hall in April, with presentations & Q&As given by Friends of the Earth, Frack Free East Yorkshire, The Environment Agency and Cuadrilla.

NOTICE OF MOTION – FRACKING – Moved by Councillor Fraser, seconded by Councillor Elvidge, and

Resolved – That this Council is concerned about the exploration for and exploitation of non-conventional natural gas reserves through the process known as fracking and that in response it will:-

  • take a precautionary approach to proposals which may adversely affect the integrity of the essential aquifer;
  • reject proposals that may result in an unacceptable adverse impact on the environment, local communities and landscape;
  • seek clarity on who bears the future cost of the legacy liability relating to abandoned or disused facilities;
  • require the full disclosure to the appropriate authority of any materials that any developer proposes to inject into or pass through the aquifer, either as part of the exploration or exploitation of natural gas or oil reserves.

We are pleased that concerns have been raised by ERYC.

However, we also note that this is a rather weak Motion, that basically re-states their existing obligations, and is at risk of broad interpretation.  Other Councils, including Hull City Council, have passed far stronger motions that actually oppose fracking.

If this Conservative dominated council tows the line of the government, they could simply state they are confident that fracking won’t “adversely affect” our water supplies (despite the evidence to the contrary), consider the impact “acceptable”, and grant planning permission anyway.

The 3rd point, about the cost of abandoned wells is an important one.  No council should be granting planning permission, given the high level of widespread public opposition, but if they do, they should at least ask the gas company to pay a large bond.  This would cover the cost of clean up or decommissioning in the event of an incident, or the company going bust and abandoning the well, so we are not left to foot the bill for cleaning up their mess.

The 4th point is already part of the regulations.  Note that although companies must notify the Environment Agency what they intend to inject into the well, ERYC are not calling for this information to be made public.  We strongly believe this should be public.  In the US the ingredients of fracking fluid have been closely guarded secrets, like the Coca-cola recipe, considered ‘commercially sensitive’.

The motion also worryingly implies that ERYC is not concerned about conventional oil & gas exploration, and the inevitable contribution to climate catastrophe that would bring.  This despite the fact that the East Riding will be one of the regions most severely impacted by climate change – with communities already collapsing into the sea on the east coast, and suffering flooding in places like Beverley, Cottingham and Anlaby.