ANTI-FRACKING campaigners have secured a small victory in their bid to stop controversial drilling in Ryedale.

Ryedale District Council's planning committee met on Tuesday evening to discuss an application to frack in Kirby Misperton and voted against Third Energy's application.

North Yorkshire County Council will have the final say on the matter, but community leaders made their thoughts clear as more than 100 anti-fracking campaigners attended the meeting to hear discussions take place.

Liberal Democrat Cllr Di Keal said: "This was a great decision by members of the planning committee who have sent a resounding message to the county council that we don’t want to see this hugely damaging industry decimate Ryedale.

"But this is just one hurdle – the bigger battle will come when the county council meet to make a decision on the Third Energy application next month."

Sue Gough, whose home is just two miles from the proposed site where Third Energy want to frack at Kirby Misperton, spoke after the meeting.

She said: "A dark cloud will hang over Ryedale until the final decision is made in Northallerton, but I hope the county councillors will take a lead from Ryedale and reject the application from Third Energy."

Fracking is the process of hydraulically fracturing rock deep underground to extract shale gas by blasting a mix of water and chemicals into the earth.

A spokesman for Third Energy said: "Third Energy will review the Ryedale District Council Planning Committee proceedings to understand on what planning grounds it has reached this conclusion.

"It is important to remember that Ryedale District Council is only one of many statutory consultees on this application, whose views will be taken into account by North Yorkshire County Council."

"Ryedale District Council, as a statutory consultee, is not expected to duplicate the decision making role of North Yorkshire County Council, the competent and experienced Mineral Planning Authority.”