IGas’s plan to explore for shale gas at a site at Misson in north Nottinghamshire now looks unlikely to be decided next month.
Councillors had been expected to decide by the end of July the application for two exploratory boreholes at a former Cold War missile site off Springs Road. But Nottinghamshire County Council said today it would be writing to IGas to ask for more information and a further delay is expected.
The proposal was granted a mining waste permit by the Environment Agency last week. DrillOrDrop report. IGas described this as “an important step” towards exploratory drilling at the site.
But this morning a county council statement said the authority was in the process of drafting a request for the additional information on the planning application. This was needed “to allow a full assessment of all the issues”, the council said.
The full details are not being released before the formal request but a council spokesperson said they concern geology, ecology, landscape and visual impact.
This is the second time the county council has asked for more information about the planning application, validated in October last year.
Another request was made in February 2016 for details about how IGas chose the site, along with information on surface water run-off, ecology, traffic, unexploded ordnance and the likely impacts of shale gas exploration on the landscape. DrillOrDrop report.
A public consultation followed that request and another is expected after this one. The council statement said:
“Subject to IGas’ consideration of this request, the County Council hopes to agree a new determination timetable for the application.
“Once provided, the additional information will be subject to a period of consultation – details of which will be released in due course.”
Springs Road is one of two IGas planning applications to explore for shale gas in Bassetlaw district. Last month, the company submitted another application to the council for a site known as Tinker Lane between Barnby Moor and Blyth. DrillOrDrop report
At Springs Road, Misson, IGas proposes to drill a vertical well to a depth of about 3,500 metres. Depending on the results, it may drill another well vertically to 4,350m, before deviating to horizontal for up to 1,500m. The first well is expected to take 14 weeks of continuous drilling; the second 19 weeks.
Neither Springs Road or Tinker Lane applications include hydraulic fracturing but the company has said it may apply for permission to frack at one or both sites in future.
IGas already has planning permission for groundwater monitoring boreholes at Springs Road.
Link to planning application documents for Springs Road Misson
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Looks like it’s time for the government to step in and take up this decision. 16 weeks, right?
Yep, this constant time wasting and consultation periods seems ridiculous. The councils need t say what they need and not come up repeatedly with yet more info needed.
The additional requests are probably from statutory consultees such as Natural England, RSPB etc. The RSPB don’t want shale gas although how a wellpad with a temporary rig impacts birds when wind farms with 135m turbines in place for 20 years are okay is beyond me.
Yet DECC continues to delay the release of any information regarding the Committee on Climate Change’s independent report on fracking and climate change and that’s perfectly acceptable? Especially in view of the increase in applications to drill that are now anticipated after the Ryedale decision. What is it-one rule for us, one rule for them? Maybe NCC would like to make a decision based on this evidence that the government are withholding hey?
The council requesting more information is not ‘time wasting’, as KW suggests. This is standard procedure for all major planning applications, and can occur for a number of reasons. As Paul suggests, it can be because some statutory consultees have raised points and questions, and the council feels that they need answers. It can also be because the applicant (in this case iGas) have not provided sufficient detail or the correct information for them to make a recommendation. There are laws to be followed here regarding allowing a wider consultation that you can’t just ignore because it is a fracking application rather than, say, a housing development or a supermarket.
This was certainly the case in Kirby Misperton, where some of Third Energy’s submission was so sketchy that they needed to be asked for further information five times. Perhaps if oil and gas companies actually bothered to do environmental surveys, traffic surveys, designated building surveys, etc. properly the first time round, they wouldn’t have to wait so long for a decision. For example, Third Energy did their ‘environmental survey’ on wildlife populations in one afternoon in January, recycled traffic figures from a previous application – not taking into account Flamingo Land traffic – and didn’t even bother to do a bat survey, even though there are lots of bats in the area. It is therefore often the hubris of the companies that causes their own delays. Please don’t blame the councils. And everyone knows the 16 week determination period is an empty threat and the government has rowed back from that significantly since it was made, with Amber Rudd saying that she hoped determinations were made ‘within a year’.
Maybe Bill and Ken’s problem would be solved if the council simply went ahead and rejected the application because it had produced insufficient evidence. Is that really what these pro-fracking guys want? Anti-democratic whingers if you ask me. They will stamp their feet if things are not going their way. You will never make the kids happy unless the application is passed.