A planning application by IGas for two exploratory shale gas wells at Misson in Bassetlaw opened for consultation today.
IGas said the application, if approved, would “evaluate the geology in the local area and begin the process of assessing its potential for shale gas recovery”.
Details of the application ES/3379 can be seen on Nottinghamshire County Council’s website here.
Opponents of the scheme have been campaigning locally over the past 18 months to raise awareness about shale gas development in North Bassetlaw. Earlier this month, Misson Community Action Group organised a rally and meeting with other local groups.
The IGas proposal is for a site at Springs Road, alongside the Misson Training Area Site of Special Scientific Interest. In a Non-technical summary accompanying the application, IGas said it was applying for permission for exploration only. it said it may seek consent to appraise and test the wells in future and this could involve fracturing.
The document said there would be four phases to the operation, if approved:
- Wellsite construction
- Drilling a vertical well to 3,500mand then a second vertical well that deviates into the Bowland shale
- Suspension of the wells and assessment of the results
- Site decommissioning, well abandonment and restoration
Hours and duration
The permission sought is for three years. The vertical well is expected to take 14 weeks to drill and the horizontal well 19 weeks. The company proposed to work from 7am to 7pm Monday to Friday during the construction, evaluation and restoration phases and from 7am to 1pm on Saturdays. During the drilling phase work would be continuous seven days a week.
It estimated there would be 36 lorry movements a day during site construction and restoration, 12-16 during rig mobilisation and 10 during drilling. If the scheme is approved, lorries would avoid the village of Misson using the B1396 and the A614 via Blaxton. IGas said the increase in lorry numbers was “acceptable in terms of noise and air quality impacts”.
IGas said it may use screening or acoustic enclosures to reduce noise from the site. It said noise from drilling activities could be mitigated so that it was below national and international guidelines. “It can therefore be concluded that there will be no adverse impact on health”, the company said.
It added the “change in noise level is unlikely to be noticeable during the daytime and could be just noticeable in the evening”. It was therefore only considered to be a minor to moderate impact, and it is unlikely that this would seriously affect the quality of life of even those in close proximity to the drilling rig.
IGas said the extra traffic would not raise the concentration of nitrogen dioxide or particulate PM10 and PM2.5 concentrations.
The application proposes to generate electricity from the wells for part of the permission period. IGas said predicted changes to the average annual concentrations of oxides of nitrogen, nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) would be small or imperceptible.
IGas has assessed the site as “low quality landscape value” and said the development would not result in “the loss of characteristic landscape features”. It did, however, acknowledge that the drill rig would be “incongruous” in the rural setting.
During drilling, the site would be lit at night but the company does not believe this would affect people living nearby.
The wells would drill through the Sherwood Sandstone, which provides drinking water. IGas said there would “no significant effects on groundwater and groundwater dependent receptors.
Nottinghamshire County Council is running a public consultation until 9th December 2015. The council’s planning manager, Sally Gill, said:
“IGas is seeking permission to explore for shale gas on this site, which would involve test drilling at Springs Road, to the north-east of Misson. The application does not include any proposal to carry out fracking.
“If permission is granted, the test drilling would allow IGas to evaluate the potential resource of shale gas trapped beneath the surface. Depending on the results of the test drilling, IGas may, or may not, seek permission to extract the shale gas using fracking, but that would require a separate planning application which would be subject to further consultation.”
IGas said it began a community engagement process in 2014 which included a community liaison group. It said it had taken into account feedback in designing the propsoals.
Stephen Bowler, CEO of IGas, said:
“The drilling of the wells at Springs Road would be an important step in helping us to understand the shale gas potential in North Nottinghamshire and more widely in the East Midlands and South Yorkshire.
“We have listened to the local community and have routed traffic north of the site away from the village of Misson. I would encourage local residents to come and talk to us at our events which we will be holding over the coming weeks so they can be reassured that this project will be carried out safely and environmentally sensitively.”
IGas is holding two exhibitions this month about its plans in Bassetlaw in north Nottinghamshire:
Wednesday 18th November at The Charnwood Hotel, Sheffield Road, Blyth, Nottinghamshire S81 8HF, 3pm-8pm
Thursday 19th November at The Mayflower Bar and Eatery, High Street, Austerfield, South Yorkshire DN10 6QU, 3pm-8pm.
- DrillOrDrop will be following what happens with this application. Please let us know if we have missed out important details.
Updated 2/11/2015 to include exhibition dates