Late in 2014, Kirkbymoorside Town Council confirmed that it had serious concerns about fracking. Now it looks likely that fracking will take place in the district, possibly at a large number of sites. Those in favour say the regulations will mitigate harm but opponents disagree. To help inform both councillors and citizens, Kirkbymoorside Town Council has arranged a debate on the contentious motion “This house believes that UK regulations make fracking safe”.
The motion will be proposed by Kevin Hollinrake, the local Member of Parliament since 2015. Mr Hollinrake asserts that shale gas will provide a bridge whilst the UK develops renewable energy sources, improves energy efficiency and builds new nuclear plants. He has argued that reports by the Royal Society, the Royal Academy of Engineering and Public Health England have concluded that shale gas can be developed whilst protecting the environment, provided that operational best practices are implemented and enforced through regulation.
Mr Hollinrake says that he will meet regularly with the Environment Agency, Health and Safety Executive and other agencies to ensure that public health is not put at risk. He will endeavour to make sure that the taxpayer or landowner does not have to meet the longer term cost of shale gas exploration, for site restoration and aftercare, even if the operator goes out of business.
The motion will be opposed by Michael Hill C.Eng MIET. Mr Hill is a Chartered Engineer with 25 years experience in the oil and gas industry. He has contributed to some of the key reports on the regulation of fracking and has provided expert guidance on similar questions to the UK government, the European Commission, the Royal Society and others. He questions whether UK regulators have sufficient expertise in relation to fracking, whether they have the capacity to be effective and whether the existing regulations are adequate.
Mr Hill argues that the UK’s well examination scheme is not fit for purpose for onshore activities, and says that it is essential that it should be made so if severe damage is to be avoided. He believes that the current regime allows operators to decide for themselves whether to follow best practices and that the authorities are ill prepared to provide any supervision.
The debate will be chaired by the Right Reverend Bishop James Jones KBE. Formerly Bishop of Liverpool, Bishop of Hull, he is now Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of York. He chaired the Hillsborough Panel, and chairs other important public interest bodies.
After initial speeches, the audience will be invited to ask questions of the speakers. Finally, each speaker will provide their summing up and a vote will be taken on the motion.
The debate will take place on Thursday 8th March 2018 in the main hall of Lady Lumley’s School, Pickering. The venue has been chosen to accommodate up to 400 people, as the council believes that the level of interest will be high. Tickets are now available for residents of Kirkbymoorside and will be available from Monday 12th February for all Ryedale residents. They can be obtained either from the Town Clerk at email email@example.com or telephone 01751432217, or online at https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/kirkbymoorside-town-council. Tickets are limited to two per applicant.
The views and opinions expressed at this event are those of the participants and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Kirkbymoorside Town Council. A compilation of relevant minutes can be found at; http://docs.kirkbymoorsidetowncouncil.gov.uk/publicdocs/KMSTCFRACKINGMINUTES.pdf
Details of the event and a link to the ticketing site are available on the Town Council home page http://www.kirkbymoorsidetowncouncil.gov.uk/
Kirkbymoorside Town Council is the local authority serving the people of the ancient market town of Kirkbymoorside. The council efficiently operates a number of local services and is also consulted by larger authorities over planning and other issues. It has a solid record of looking out for the interests of local citizens, and helping them in their dealings with other branches of government.
Lisa Bolland, Town Clerk (office) 01751 432217