North Yorkshire councillors are to decide on whether to grant a fracking permit to UK firm Third Energy today, but objectors have said they do not want the county to become known as the ‘fracking capital of the UK’.
People opposed to the application have continued to present their arguments against the scheme on the second day of the meeting on the project in Northallerton.
A committee of councillors is expected to decide later whether to approve the plan to frack for shale gas at an existing drilling site near the village of Kirby Misperton, between Malton and Pickering.
North Yorkshire County Council released a report recommending that the project should go ahead earlier in May, arguing that it would help to provide for the nation's energy needs while ensuring that sufficient safeguarding measures would be put in place to protect the environment.
Those opposed to the project have specifically cited environmental considerations as one of their primary motivations for rejecting the scheme.
Kyle Boote, the founder of the Helmsley Brewing Company, told the meeting at County Hall that contamination of the water supply would be ‘disastrous’.
"The introduction of fracking will portray us as the fracking capital of the UK and that is not how we want to be known," he said.
He also warned that approval of the application would harm the region's successful tourist industry which would "probably never recover".
A small group of anti-fracking protesters have gathered on the lawn outside the council building and could be heard cheering the arguments being made against the application.
Planners have recommended the plan is approved, but on Friday councillors on the county council's planning committee listened as dozens of speakers outlined environmental concerns over the controversial hydraulic fracturing technique, ranging from global-level climate change to the proximity of ponds, bees and bats to the proposed drilling rig.
The Government has openly supported the extraction method, arguing that it will boost the UK’s energy security and its economy.
Environmentalists have said that pursuing a new sources of gas is not compatible with efforts to tackle climate change as agreed upon last December in Paris.
No fracking has taken place in the UK since 2011, when tests on the Fylde coast were found to have been the probable cause of minor earthquakes in the area.
Since then, two high-profile applications to frack in Lancashire have been rejected by councillors and are now the subject of appeals.
Third Energy wants to frack for shale gas using an existing two-mile deep well - called KM8 - drilled in 2013.
Rasik Valand, chief executive of Third Energy, stressed that the well site has been operational for decades for non-fracking extraction.
He said: "Third Energy has been drilling wells, producing gas and generating electricity safely and discreetly in North Yorkshire for over 20 years and we will continue to maintain the same responsible approach in the future."