Following a three week enquiry, The Moordale Energy Ltd. Ryedale gas project proposal has been approved, meaning that a new gas well will soon be built in the North Yorkshire Moors Park.
The development, which will cost £50 million, will affect rural towns and villages in the vicinity including Ebberston, Allerston, Wilton and Thornton-le-Dale.
Eric Pickles, secretary of state for communities and local government, gave the green light for the gas processing facility to be built next to Hurrell Lane, near Thornton-le-Dale. The site is surrounded by agricultural land in all directions, with the National Park boundary to the west side of Hurrell Lane.
The move has been controversial as the North York Moors National Park Authority, the North Yorkshire county council and the other two councils representing the area rejected the proposal and a campaign group, Against Having Sour Gas in Thornton (Aghast), collected more than 10,000 signatures opposing the plans. Adam White, co-founder of Aghast, is “hugely disappointed” by the approval of the project. Aghast believe that the plant will ruin Ryedale’s countryside and damage Thornton-le-Dale’s tourist industry.
However, Lawrie Erasmus, Moorland Energy’s chief executive, said: “The go-ahead for the Ryedale gas project is excellent news for the Ryedale area as it will involve investing millions of pounds in construction and infrastructure work and create temporary and permanent jobs as well as modern apprenticeships.”
The project will receive £10m investment over the next 20 years and will create 25 permanent jobs and supply gas to 75,000 homes a year.
Moorland has said it will keep noise levels and smell to a minimum and promised to consult residents.
Erasmus said: “We demonstrated at the inquiry our significant measures to mitigate that impact.
“I am confident that local residents will come to recognise that the perceived impact will not be quite as great as they thought.”