This week North Yorkshire Councillors voted in support of Third Energy’s plan for exploratory fracking in the village of Kirby Misperton.
David Cameron has been a long-time advocate of the fracking process, but his attempts to emulate the US model have thus far been thwarted by public hostility due to the industry’s suspect environmental record.
The North Yorkshire scheme represents the first shale gas planning approval in Britain in five years and supporters hope other companies will follow suit.
However, national fracking in the UK remains a distant prospect, partly due to changing economic situation of an industry inundated with cheap energy mainly caused by the US shale glut.
Chief Executive of the UK Onshore Operators Group, Ken Cronin, said that he does not anticipate widespread extraction to take place until at least 2020.
He added that what we will see prior to then is a series of ‘exploration wells’ that will give people chance to analyse the results and decide whether or not to proceed with production.
However, green groups have condemned the Yorkshire vote, whose councillors came to their decision on the back of advice from planning officers. Meanwhile, Friends of the Earth are pushing for a judicial review of the decision.
Energy Minister, Andrea Leadsom, spoke in support of the vote as she hailed shale gas as a good opportunity for the county and that fracking will benefit energy security, the economy and create more jobs.
Although they have already received planning permission, Third Energy will now need the Oil and Gas Authority to approve its plans, as well as Energy Secretary, Amber Rudd.
The company has endeavoured to reassure the local community and has promised not to drill on Sundays or at night.