Barclays-backed firm to lodge fracking application

Reports that a Barclays-backed company is to seek permission to frack for shale gas in North Yorkshire feature in today's newspaper round-up.

A firm backed by Barclays’ private equity division is to seek planning permission to frack for shale gas near the Flamingo Land theme park in North Yorkshire, according to the Daily Telegraph. The newspaper reports that fracking could take place as soon as next year if approval is granted to Third Energy, which is 97 per cent owned by Barclays Natural Resource Investments.

The Times (subscription required) reports that the growth in Britain’s population over the past decade is due almost entirely to the "massive" scale of immigration, according to a report by Migration Watch UK. The newspaper reports that the think-tank’s analysis suggests that official figures underestimate the impact of immigration on the population, which is predicted to increase from 63.7 million in 2012 to 73.3 million by 2037.

The Guardian reports that Britain’s housing market is cooling rapidly as a result of tougher Bank of England mortgage market requirements, high prices and the uncertainty caused by the coming general election. The prospect of higher interest rates at some point in 2015 is also dampening demand, the newspaper reports. It says that figures from the British Bankers’ Association showed a sharp slowdown in mortgage approvals, while the Nationwide building society reported a fall in lending volumes.

The Financial Times (subscription required) reports that the return of Russian buyers as well as vendors reducing asking prices on £10 million-plus central London homes have boosted sales of "super prime" properties by a third in the year to date. According to the newspaper, estate agent Knight Frank said that, between January and October, the number of transactions over £10 million was up by a third, and nearly double levels in 2012.

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