Horse & Hound

Horse owners’ concerns over fracking

Concerns over effects on equine health of the controvers­ial extraction process


RESIDENTS of a North Yorkshire village in which fracking will take place are concerned about the “unknown” impact of the process on horses and livestock.

Third Energy has already drilled on land in Kirby Misperton in Ryedale, a tourist spot surrounded by racing stables, and is waiting for government permission to start fracking.

The practice involves drilling into the ground and directing a high-pressure water and chemical

mixture into the rock to extract shale gas. Opponents fear the process could cause earthquake­s and contaminat­e air and water.

Local horse owner Karen Garrett said the activity concerns her “on many levels”.

“There are road safety issues for riders, they are mostly singletrac­k roads not designed for the convoys of trucks that have been coming through,’ she said.

“There are also a lot of worries about [fracking fluid] getting into neighbouri­ng land, streams and rivers. Our farmers supply hay and haylage to more or less all the racing industry, which around Malton is huge.”

Retired equine vet Bob Ordridge, who lives near the site, said horse owners “seem to know little” about fracking, but it was implicated when foals were born three years ago in Pennsylvan­ia, US, on a farm near a fracking well, unable to swallow.

“Research was ongoing for two years and the only common denominato­r was that the mares drank from the same water source [while pregnant],” he said.

A Third Energy spokesman said: “Hydraulic fracturing in the UK is highly regulated and there are strict measures to prevent contaminat­ion and control the low risk of small induced seismic events.There is nothing to base concerns raised by some on.

“All chemicals used in the fluid have to be assessed by the Environmen­t Agency as nonhazardo­us to groundwate­r and be fully disclosed. A significan­t and extended programme of monitoring of air, soil surface and groundwate­r is required before operations start, and monitoring during and afterwards.

“This is different to requiremen­ts in parts of the

US, so it is wrong to extrapolat­e alleged claims of impacts from the US to the UK. The UK system for management of waste water is completely enclosed in contrast to ponds allowed in the US with potential to overflow.

“Third Energy has been producing gas in Kirby Misperton for over 20 years with no negative impact on the local environmen­t or livestock.”

 ??  ?? The extraction of shale gas is a controvers­ial process. Library image
The extraction of shale gas is a controvers­ial process. Library image

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