Fracking: These ‘half-truths’ and how tremors ‘could damage Yorkshire’s historic treasures’

A protester outside County Hall in Northallerton
A protester outside County Hall in Northallerton
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Yorkshire landowner Nicholas Howard today accused Third Energy of repeating “half-truths” in its attempt to persuade county councillors to give the go-ahead to controversial fracking plans.

Mr Howard, whose family owns and runs the Castle Howard stately home, expressed fears for the damage that could be caused to historic monuments in the area by earth tremors triggered by fracking.

His intervention came during the second day of a North Yorkshire County Council planning meeting hearing Third Energy’s application to frack at a site near Kirby Misperton.

In a statement from the Castle Howard Estate, Mr Howard said: The same half-truths keep being trotted out by the industry, despite categorical rebuffing.

“For instance: Third Energy repeatedly tell us that they have been doing this for twenty years or more. They have not. The North Sea is not the same as Ryedale. Conventional vertical drilling is not the same as horizontal drilling with fracking.”

Mr Howard said the regulations surrounding fracking were “not entirely fit for purpose” and attempts to raise concerns with the Government and industry were met with “patronising denials of the potential problems”.

He added: “Castle Howard is surrounded by grade one monuments, buildings, and other structures, not the least of which is the finest non-urban collection of Hawksmoor buildings in the country.

“These are prime heritage assets for which I am responsible. I would be derelict in my duties were I not to raise the possibility of their ruination through seismic events caused by the hydraulic fracturing process and associated processes.

“It has yet to be demonstrated that this is not a material worry.”

Mr Howard said the local transport network was “not robust enough” to cope with the number of vehicles heading to and from the proposed fracking site.