Regulation

Breaking: IGas monitoring scheme approved

MissonMonitoring

In the past few minutes, Nottinghamshire County Council has approved plans by IGas to drill up to 12 groundwater monitoring boreholes at a Cold War missile test site near Misson.

The scheme is part of the company’s plans to drill and possibly frack for shale gas at the site off  Springs Road.

The council’s planning committee voted by nine to two to follow the advice of officials and approved the scheme at a meeting this morning. They added two additional conditions on lightng and noise

Opponents of the scheme, who gathered outside County Hall, had argued that permission should be refused. They said IGas had not given sufficient care and attention to the monitoring scheme. They had concerns about its impact on local wildlife in nearby Sites of Special Scientific Interest, as well as risks of pollution, noise and increased traffic.

More details and reaction coming soon.

10 replies »

  1. I don’t understand why those opposed to shale gas exploitation, particularly those with concerns over water contamination, don’t want the groundwater monitored around the drill site(s). It makes sense to establish a baseline so that the operator (IGas in this case) can be held to account against this baseline. This is a standalone planning application in planning terms and a shale well, with or without fracture stimulation, is the subject of a totally separate planing application. The Council have to pass it or face an appeal (like Cuadrilla) which they would lose and cost the Council money.

    • The Minerals Planning Authority, in this case the relevant county council planning committee, has a quasi judicial role and is obliged to restrict its deliberations only to material planning considerations. Possible legal costs arising from an appeal against a decision are not a material planning consideration which means the Councillor members of the planning committee are specifically precluded from taking legal costs implications in to account when reaching their decision.

      • Okay, makes sense – although I have been at Committee meetings (LPA) where the Planning Officer has advised on the chances of winning an appeal or not. So the MPA (CC) have passed the application on merit, presumably as recommended by the Planning Case Officer. We used to use a rule of thumb of only 15% of applications which were recommended to be approved by the Officer but were Refused by Committee had the refusal upheld by PINS at an appeal. This was a couple of years ago so may have changed now.

  2. This is one of the things that would have stopped all the bickering, legal action, and bad feeling in Dimock, Pennsylvania. Monitoring existing soil and gas conditions would give the data to show whether a well had a surface leak, due to poor sealing.
    Of course its more a matter for the water companies as UK law requires the companies to deliver clean potable water. 99% of people get their water that way, and its an important consideration for the well design to be sure to get wells that do not pollute the environment.

  3. The objection to starting boreholes for water monitoring is due to the fact that this is a recognised first step – a foot in the door – to shale gas exploitation by fracking which is, of course, unacceptable for local residents, wildlife and the planet as a whole.
    There would be no point for iGas to waste their time, money and energy unless they considered it highly probable that an opportunity for full scale gas/oil extraction would be the eventual outcome.
    By granting permission for this apparently benign initial stage it compromises the case when it comes to the ensuing insidious tactics commonly used by pro-frackers, particularly as they are backed by unscrupulous government ministers with vested interests. Being well aware that the informed public don’t want their land, air and water poisoned and climate change accelerated – as fracking is evidenced to do wherever practiced around the world – fracking companies would prefer not to meet the opposition of good folks trying to defend themselves.
    For me, even the assurance that the Environment Agency would monitor the whole operation grants no confidence since their track record in recent years has shown a distinct bias towards political influences rather than the welfare of people, wildlife and the planet.
    We currently suffer from the most untrustworthy, anti-progress government who, before the ink was even dry on the page, were sticking two fingers up to the COP21 agreement which confirmed the imperative need to phase out fossil fuels and embrace much more non-polluting, sustainable energy.
    Nobody in their right mind would start new explorations for fossil fuels at a time like this. We simply can’t afford it, either ecologically, ethically or economically.

    • COP21 is not relevant to this issue. We need gas, do we continue to import it (more will be required as coal use ceases and renewables are increased) or do we use more gas from the UK? Perhaps it is better to import it, push the problems and issues associated with gas extraction to less regulated regimes, possibly with the exception of Norway.

      Using UK shale gas vs. importing foreign gas will make no material difference to climate change, in fact it will probably have a net positive impact.

      I am all for phasing out fossil fuels but it is not going to happen anytime soon. I assume you drive a car and have gas central heating (20 million homes use gas for heating).

      There are no reliable technologies (renewables and storage) yet available that can fully replace fossil fuel to provide base and demand electricity, heating and fuel for vehicles. Nuclear can only provide base load. Wind and solar are intermittent – ask Scotland. Ask Germany. Ask Denmark.

      As for COP21 – they didn’t really agree to do anything – that is the only way they got a conclusion.

      It makes no difference to me if we use shale gas from the UK or not, but we will continue to use gas for the forseeable future so why not look at using our own?

      Have a look at http://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk/

      While I am typing gas is providing 44% of UK electricity demand, coal 27%, nuclear 19%, hydro 2% and wind 0.3% (Biomass 5% – burning trees from Canada and Siberia in Drax, really green!).

      • How many buzz words?

        Seriously though, its easy to pen words. Its the reason that books are often better than films. Words are cheap.

        Just writing something down doesn’t make it true, or functional. I’d love free energy produced in my house and a car that charges in 10 seconds and last 3 months. Lets build it. We can use solar power through a machine not yet invented to trigger quantum energy that uses the vibrational powers of the universe to charge up the whole world. Lets just BUILD IT!

        There is little point talking unless there is something to say. Its like being nasty just for the sake of it. Suggesting ideas that don’t work just for the sake of making oneself feel like their some part of the magic ‘progressive’ solution.

        And just sticking ‘progressive’ in front of everything isn’t a magic argument. Developing nuclear fusion and not wasting huge amounts of energy and materials (built and shipped using fossil fuels otherwise wind and solar would be vastly more uneconomic than they are now – total cost please, not cheating figures) on high land use, low energy density, technologies would have been the really ‘progressive’ thing to do, and by progressive I just mean it would have been a better solution to the problem.

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