In a 7-4 vote, Councilors of the county of North Yorkshire approved industrial tests on Monday in a move that will allow fracking in Britain for the first time in five years.
The Guardian reported that the go-ahead “swept aside” vocal protests from residents and environmentalists who feared “catastrophic seismic activity, health problems, and pollution” if hydraulic fracturing was introduced.
The shale gas tests will occur in the village of Kirby Misperton by the British firm Third Energy.
The council’s decision followed a two-day hearing during which supporters and opponents of the proposal voiced their hopes and concerns.
The last fracking incident in Britain occurred in 2011, when the U.K.-based oil and gas company Cuadrilla Resources admitted that two minor earthquakes in north-west England had been caused by the company’s use of the controversial drilling practice.
Two other high-profile applications to frack in the Lancashire area have been rejected by councilors since late-2011, but the companies have lodged appeals to reverse the decisions.
The council that allowed the new tests in North Yorkshire received 4,375 objections to the proposal and 36 letters in support of the company’s plan to frack for shale gas near an existing well in the area, according to The Guardian’s report.
David Cameron and his ministers are set to welcome the tests, as the prime minister said in 2014 that his “government was going all out for shale.”
The Wall Street Journal said the British leader is “eager” to replicate the success of the United States’ shale boom.
Cameron’s energy secretary Amber Rudd said she “would deliver shale” after the general elections winded down in 2014.
Last August, several other ministers had said they would assist oil companies in preparing their fracking applications after firms became frustrated that local councils had not granted them access fast enough.
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