Watershed North Yorkshire fracking project approved by councillors
The first fracking project since a ban was lifted on the procedure in 2012 has been approved by councillors in North Yorkshire.
Third Energy is set to become to first British company to frack for shale gas legally in England since 2011, despite strong local opposition to the method.
The firm could begin work at its Kirby Misperton site in Ryedale towards the end of the year when cold weather will help stem protests.
North Yorkshire County Council’s planning committee voted seven to four in favour of the procedure, which seeks to dislodge earth to release the gas to be used as an energy source.
Opponents claim it can cause water contamination, earthquakes, noise and traffic pollution.
John Blackie, an independent councillor, told The Times: “I see no compelling reason why North Yorkshire should be the guinea pig.”
Campaign group Frack Off said: "These plans could pave the way for thousands of fracking wells to spread across Yorkshire and many other parts of the country if not stopped.
"Impacts, including pipelines, air pollution and waste disposal will spread far beyond the areas being drilled.
"Third Energy's plans in Ryedale are the thin end of a very large wedge."
Rasik Valand, chief executive of Third Energy, said: "We will have to deliver on our commitment, made to the committee and to the people of Ryedale, to undertake this operation safely and without impacting on the local environment.”