May 13, 2016 / 7:37 AM / 3 years ago

Third Energy fracking plan in UK recommended for approval

LONDON (Reuters) - Oil and gas producer Third Energy’s application to carry out hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, at a shale gas site in North Yorkshire in England should be approved next week, a senior planning officer has recommended to authorities.

The report by the head of planning at North Yorkshire County Council was prepared ahead of a meeting of councillors due to be held on May 20 to decide on the application.

The planning meeting could continue until May 23 due to the number of registered public speakers, a press officer for North Yorkshire Council said.

Third Energy applied for the fracking license at its Kirby Misperton well in north Yorkshire in May last year. The well is located in the Bowland shale formation that experts estimate contains the bulk of Britain’s shale gas resources.

Britain is estimated to have enough shale gas trapped below its surface to meet its gas needs for decades. But the use of fracking, a process whereby water, sand and chemicals are injected to open up the shale rocks and release the trapped gas is opposed by environmental campaigners.

The report said objections to Third Energy’s plan included those related to potential adverse impacts on surface and groundwater resources, nature, landscape, air quality and ground vibration.

However, the report said it was “satisfied” that measures to mitigate effects on the natural environment, water, traffic and highways were “both appropriate and proportionate”.

The report added that the fracking plan was also in line with government policy as it could help increase gas supplies.

“We believe that this thorough report will enable North Yorkshire county council to reach a positive determination on our application,” said Rasik Valand, chief executive of Third Energy.

“Third Energy has been drilling wells and producing gas safely and discreetly from this site in Kirby Misperton for over 20 years and we will continue to maintain the same standards in the future,” he added.

Reporting by Nina Chestney; editing by Susan Thomas

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