Ryedale council bosses wary over fracking decisions
COUNCIL bosses in Ryedale have said a new waste and minerals blueprint for North Yorkshire should not immediately support fracking - but should leave the door open for another potash mine.
North Yorkshire County Council, City of York Council and the North York Moors National Park Authority are drawing up a joint plan which will help dictate decisions about waste and minerals schemes across the region up to 2030, with other local authorities and organisations being asked to give their views about its content and stance.
Ryedale District Council's response will be discussed when its planning committee meets next week, and a report by head of planning Gary Housden said fracking - a controversial extraction technique which drills into the earth before using a high-pressure water mixture to shatter rocks and release the gas inside - is "of particular relevance" to the district as reserves of shale gas have been identified there, as well as in neighbouring areas.
Mr Housden;s report said a "precautionary approach", meaning the possible downsides of fracking would have to be carefully assessed and strict criteria laid down about it being used in "sensitive" locations, could be taken.
However, it said: "This council is very concerned that such an approach relies on the basis that the impacts of the process can be accurately identified.
"It is considered that, until such time as the effects of the process are more readily understood and evidenced, the joint plan should not support the process in principle."
Sirius Minerals is already looking to build a potash mine near Whitby, within the North York Moors National Park, through the York Potash project.
Mr Housden's report said the "economic benefits" from such schemes meant the minerals plan should support another mine in principle "provided environmental effects can be satisfactorily addressed", but any mine heads should be outside the national park.
A version of the plan which will bring together all councils' views on its various aspects and outlined the "preferred options" is expected to be completed before the end of the year.
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