York & North Yorkshire

Third Energy fracking company has 'open door policy' for Kirby Misperton protestors

John Dewar, director of operations at Third Energy Image copyright PA
Image caption John Dewar, director of operations at the Third Energy facility near Kirby Misperton, said "We respect their right to protest but they should respect our right to operate"

An energy company planning to restart fracking for shale gas has said its "door is open" to anyone with genuine concerns about its operations.

Third Energy secured permission in 2016 to use an existing gas well for test drilling near the village of Kirby Misperton, North Yorkshire.

It said: "We respect [their] right to protest, but [demonstrators] should respect our right to operate."

The company plans to start fracking at its KM8 well later this year.

Director of operations at Third Energy, John Dewar, insisted the well would be drilled without disruption and that operations would have minimal impact.

Some protestors have set up an anti-fracking camp nearby and claim the KM8 plan is just the start of fracking "on an industrial scale".

The well was sunk for conventional gas extraction in 2013.

Mr Dewar said: "If [protestors] are genuinely concerned, then come and see us, talk to us. We have an open door policy to anyone who has genuine concerns.

"If they're coming just to cause disruption, my message to them is that we will still go ahead. Please go away."

He said there was "zero chance" of water supply contamination.

Image copyright John Giles/PA
Image caption Third Energy said "We respect [demonstrators'] right to protest, but [they] should respect our right to operate."

Ian Conlan, of Frack Free Ryedale, said: "The health of local residents has had no baseline monitoring so, when they get ill, as has happened, will Third Energy deny it has anything to do with them?

"We look at the well-documented evidence of health impacts, contamination in places which have had fracking and regulations broken with impunity, not the smooth words of a debt-ridden company desperate to hit the jackpot with fracking."

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Media captionThe BBC's David Shukman explains how fracking works

Mr Dewar said Third Energy has done 13 baseline studies of noise, light, seismicity, water and soil.

Anti-fracking campaigners announced a possible legal challenge in May after councillors approved plans, despite 4,300 objections.

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