RYEDALE campaigners have lost their High Court fight against fracking.

Mrs Justice Lang has today ruled that fracking may go-ahead in North Yorkshire.

The case was brought by Reverend Jackie Cray, who lives just a mile from the site. She said she and other campaigners were devastated with the decision.

“I'm obviously disappointed in the verdict but it doesn't end here.

"There is no support in North Yorkshire for this risky industry. We will continue to campaign on behalf of local communities for the sake of our children and their children's health and well-being, and the long term prosperity of our area," Mrs Cray added.

"We are not prepared for Ryedale to become a sacrifice zone for the sake of industry greed.”

The judge released her decision on the Judicial Review brought by Rev Cray and Friends of the Earth earlier today. She threw out campaigners' claims the planning permission granted to fracking firm Third Energy was unsound on grounds of climate change impacts and not protecting the community from future detrimental impacts of the industry. 

However, Mrs Justice Lang made it clear the council's planning committee should reach an independent view on whether “energy requirements ought to be met by other, less environmentally damaging means than gas production and a gas-fuelled electricity generating station”.

She went on to say the planning conditions imposed by North Yorkshire County Council should give people nearby "a considerable degree of protection" and "extend beyond mere restoration to a programme of aftercare."

Anti-fracking campaigners from the rural area say they are outraged at the ruling, which looks set to give the green light to hydraulic fracturing in the village of Kirby Misperton.

David Davis, one of the residents behind the legal action said:

"We respect Mrs Justice Lang’s decision whose duty was to carefully interpret the law as it stands today.

"Our greatest disappointment is with the government, our own MP, and an industry who are conspiring to force fracking on unwilling communities with the threat of overruling any councils who refuse planning permission. 

"Our own county council failed to respect residents' wishes and those of the district council, five town councils and 14 parish councils in Ryedale who objected, and did not even have the courage to use the authority's own draft Minerals and Waste Plan as a basis to throw out this application."

Third Energy can now press ahead with its plans at Kirby Misperton, he said, and the decision could "open the floodgates" to other fracking companies who have plans for more than 14000 wells in Ryedale.

"Large areas of Yorkshire, the North and the Midlands are covered by Petroleum Exploration and Development licences for fracking which if exploited will lead to the widespread industrialisation of our countryside," Mr Davis said.

North Yorkshire County Council has welcomed the ruling. In a statement, the council said it was grateful the High Court confirmed its the planning committee dealt with the case properly.

The statement added: "The County Council has not sought to bring fracking to North Yorkshire.

"Having received this application, we had a responsibility to determine it and to apply national and local policies. We followed a statutory process, and the High Court has found that we followed it correctly and has rejected the issues raised by Friends of the Earth."

The council is now working with City of York and North York Moors, on a draft Minerals and Waste Joint Plan.

When it is approved the plan will be a key reference for planning decisions for the next 15 years, including fracking.