The Yorkshire Post says: Fracking focus. A breakdown of public trust

A RECURRING theme of this newspaper’s week-long investigation into fracking is the mistrust between environmentalists and the energy industry which believes the extraction of shale gas is in the national economic interest.

It’s not helped by the secrecy surrounding a desire by energy giant Ineos to obtain geological data from under the North York Moors to, presumably, assess its future suitability for fracking.

Yet its approach, and comments by operations director Tom Pickerington  who appears to assume that the firm “can frack underneath without impact on the surface above”, are concerning for two reasons.

First, the North York Moors is designated as a National Park because of its priceless natural environment and a desire to ensure that such precious landscapes – the Yorkshire Dales and Peak District are also protected – are cherished for future generations and spared from any inappropriate developments.

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Lateral fracking is not welcome beneath the North York Moors

Fracking is “incompatible” with protected landscapes and should be the very last targets for so-called lateral fracking by gas extraction firms, the director of planning at the North York Moors National Park Authority said.

The process of hydraulic fracturing is legally banned from the surface inside the boundaries of national parks, but seven firms have a licence to carry out exploratory work in Yorkshire and one of them, Ineos, holds licences for areas on the edge of the Moors.

Moors bosses recently met with Ineos, which is weighing up when to start exploratory work in Yorkshire, and made clear they would not welcome attempts to seek permission to reach shale rock beneath the park from well sites outside its boundaries.

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Exclusive: Energy firm ‘refused to rule out fracking under North York Moors’

Energy firm Ineos refused to rule out fracking underneath the North York Moors during face-to-face meetings with national park officials, The Yorkshire Post has learned.

The arguments over whether we should allow fracking of the Yorkshire landscape continue to rage.

The arguments over whether we should allow fracking of the Yorkshire landscape continue to rage.

Lateral fracking is not welcome beneath the North York Moors Documents obtained by environmental campaign group Greenpeace and seen by this newspaper show that North York Moors park authority officials only heard about Ineos’s apparent plans to drill horizontally for shale gas underneath the park when they read about it in a Sunday newspaper.

Correspondence shows the park authorities sought an urgent meeting with Ineos to question them about the plans after the article in December, as during a meeting two months earlier the firm only informed them of their intention “to carry out future exploration to obtain geological data”.

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