CAMPAIGNERS are warning that repeated delays in a fracking application for Ryedale could see local people lose their voice over the controversial proposals.

Earlier this week North Yorkshire County Council announced that the planning application to frack at Kirby Misperton cannot be decided by February, even though the deadline has already been extended once.

The council has had to start a new public consultation on fresh pieces of information submitted by Third Energy, the company behind the Ryedale plans, and with six weeks to run that will not end until after the February 9 deadline.

Friends of the Earth campaigner Simon Bowens has warned that as time goes if the application still does not get decided, there is a risk that Government ministers will take the decision themselves.

He added: "We say that it is better for cases like this to be decided at a local level because there is more accountability.

"But wherever the decision is made it needs to be with the full information. You cannot make decisions on something as potentially risky as fracking with it."

The county council has also said that on top of the more recent information, they are still waiting for other details from Third Energy. When those pieces of information arrive, there could well be fresh public consultations in turn causing more delays.

Last year, the Government announced it would step in if local authorities did not fast-track fracking applications.

A spokesman for Third Energy said they are still hoping for a quick decision. He added: "Third Energy is pleased that the additional information supplied by us, as requested by NYCC in the Regulation 22 letter, is now being consulted on.

"We hope that we can now move to a speedy determination and that local communities and the country at large can benefit safely and without undue impact on the environment from the opportunities afforded by shale gas exploration."