Councillors in Bassetlaw, north Nottinghamshire, have rejected the advice of officials and voted against a plan for shale gas exploration in their district.
Bassetlaw’s planning committee objected, by eight to one, to an application by the IGas subsidiary Dart (East England) Ltd for a vertical exploration well at a site called Tinker Lane, near Barnby Moor.
The committee must be consulted on the application. The final decision will be made by Nottinghamshire County Council later this year.
Planning officers at Bassetlaw had recommended the committee did not object to application. Their report to the committee said the proposal was for exploration only and was temporary.
The report added that there would be “no significant adverse impact on the amenity of local residents” from noise or vibration. Issues including highways, archaeology and ecology would be addressed by the county council, the officers said.
On landscape, they concluded:
“Whilst the drilling rig would stand 60m high and would appear as a prominent feature, it is important to note that the drilling process would only be for a temporary period of 4 months and once exploration has been completed, the site would be restored.”
But the committee meeting on Wednesday (6/7/2016) heard that local people were concerned about increased traffic generated by the development. The application proposed to route traffic to Tinker Lane through Blyth from the A634 and the A1. Residents said there was already traffic congestion in the village.
The committee also heard local people were concerned about the impact of drilling on old mine workings from the former Harworth colliery about 1km away.
The website of the Tinker Lane Community Liaison Group, established by IGas, said underground roadways extended in and around the village of Torworth. The group’s report of the planning committee meeting said:
“The effect of pressure testing at depth or subsequent under-fracking, inducing a sudden collapse of old workings from transient shock, is of great concern for Torworth residents and indeed other villages in the vicinity.”
The meeting also heard that Dart did not propose to carry out 3D seismic surveying at Tinker Lane before drilling the well to a depth of 3,300m.
This absence of 3D data was given by councillors as a reason for objecting to the application.
In a statement made on 12 July 2016, Bassetlaw Council said:
“As a statutory consultee, Bassetlaw District Council has a duty to respond to the Mineral Planning Authority, which in this case is Nottinghamshire County Council, on minerals applications that come forward in the district.
“At the meeting of Planning Committee on 6th July 2016, members voted to object to the application submitted by Dart Energy (East England) Ltd. This will be submitted to the County Council and their members who will make any planning decisions regarding this application.”
The statement continued:
“The reasons Members stated for objecting to the application were:
- the potential contamination risk has not been fully explored
- impact of HGVs in nearby villages and no designated routing or details of how traffic will be managed and insufficient traffic modelling
- lack of any 3D seismic testing being undertaken given the number of historic coal mines in the locality and earth tremors and sink holes being present in nearby villages
- lack of full consultation with local cycling clubs and local residents.”
A spokesperson for Dart said this afternoon:
“The planning application for Tinker Lane is for a vertical exploration well to further refine our understanding of the regional geology and for this activity 3D seismic is not required. It is only a requirement for hydraulic fracturing.
“If a hydraulic fracture were to be considered, a separate planning application would be submitted and a 3D seismic dataset would be acquired.
“In respect of the other issues raised, it is clear from the Environmental Statement (which accompanies the planning application) that one of the factors considered when selecting suitable sites is the presence of old mine workings. It is worth noting that many boreholes have been successfully drilled across the area over several decades.
“A comprehensive traffic assessment is included within the Environmental Statement and deals with a wide variety of traffic related subjects, including congestion. Nottinghamshire County Council’s Highway Authority and Highways England have stated that they have no objection to the scheme.”
- Bassetlaw District Council had been involved in a legal dispute with Dart after the company installed portable buildings on the site in October 2016 without planning permission. The current planning application includes a request for retrospective consent for the buildings.
- Nottinghamshire County Council extended the consultation period for Tinker Lane by two weeks until 22 July 2016.
Updated 12/7/2016 to include Bassetlaw Council statement issued on that day