Bassetlaw councillors object to IGas plans for Tinker Lane, against planners’ advice

Tinker Lane impression Bassetlaw Against Fracking

Photo montage: Bassetlaw against Fracking

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.

Council statement

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.”

Dart reaction

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

This report is part of DrillOrDrop’s Rig Watch project. Rig Watch receives funding from the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust. More details here

17 replies »

  1. Sounds like a victory for countries like Qatar, Russia and Saudi Arabia who supply us, via the European market with oil and gas, because we don’t produce our own. Home produced gas, of course, as suggested by the climate change committee could have a lower carbon footpint than some imported gas.

    • Sounds like you do not know where your gas comes from.
      BP statistical review of world energy 2015. 2014 source.
      Britain produced 3500 thousand cubic feet per day (mmscfd)
      Britain consumed 6500 mmscfd
      Britain imported 1100 mmscfd in the form of LNG
      Britain imported 2200 mmscfd through pipelines
      79% from Norway
      20% from Netherlands
      1% from other sources
      We also exported home grown Gas
      Your statement “because we don’t produce our own” is ridiculous but does give me the opportunity to show the true figures
      The landed price (all duties paid) of LNG last year was 37p per therm. Around 30% cheaper than European shale. Imported pipeline gas is cheaper than LNG.
      Shale could never replace LNG unless you want to tell the public to pay more. The logical solution is to lower offshore taxes and increase production and get the 40,000 unemployed offshore workers to join the 375,000 workers who make sure one of our greatest Industries remains just that.
      Doing that would then see a decrease in import and an increase in export and as you point out would be better for climate change.
      A win,win,win scenario

      • John – if you haven’t already seen this I recommend you download the recently published National Grid 2016 Future Energy Supply documents which can be found via the following link:

        The four scenarios are Gone Green, Slow Progression, No Progression and Consumer Power. There is no shale gas development in either of the two green scenarios. “Stakeholders have told us that they do not think that shale development will be publicly acceptable in a world with high green ambition. DECC published a paper suggesting that the carbon footprint of shale gas extraction and use is lower than the carbon footprint of LNG. However, the exclusion of shale gas in these two scenarios is based on current public perception”

        So two scenarios without UK shale gas and two scenarios with UK shale gas. Chapter 4.4 shows gas supply mix going forward.

        Gas for heating and electricty supply features high in all scenarios into the future, albeit lower in the Green scenarios (but still high in heating). A lot of interesting data.

      • John, The Uk is currently reliant on imports for 50% of it gas supplies. This from the influential (hopefully) Climate Change Committee’s report on onshore oil and gas “The UK currently gets around half its gas supplies from imports, mainly via pipeline from Norway and via liquefied natural gas (LNG) tankers. Domestic output is projected to continue its decline over the coming decades and most projections suggest that the share of imports will rise over time, even as consumption falls.”.

  2. “The final decision will be made by Nottinghamshire County Council later this year.”

    Victory for nobody yet. The district councillors can vote against the planners recommendation without worrying about appeal – as they don’t make the decision or suffer any potential costs.

    All they will do is write to the County Council and advise them that the DC objects. It goes in the pot along with all the other comments and has no real meaning in Planning Law. The Planning Officers at County will make the recommendation (which of course might be refusal) and the County Planning Committee will vote for approval or refusal.

    • Another 8 councillors, representing the people, hearing the facts and then deciding it is not in the communities best interest to approve the application. Sounds like a great victory to me. All over the country, Parish,Local, and County Councillors are making informed decisions and the majority by far are saying no. You may be comfortable with a few people in Government being able to override the decisions made by those who represent the people, I and tens of thousands are not.

      • The planning officer recommended the councillors support it based on planning issues. The Councillors have decided to object BUT this is more likely due to their electorate lobbying them (after all they want to be re-elected) and the fact that there is no financial risk to the DC in making this decision. My experience of Councillors (and I was one) is that they are generally not capable of making TECHNICALLY informed decisions – this is why they have a Planning Department. But lets wait and see what the County Council Planners do – it is likely that the Officers will recommend it is passed based on what the DC PO recommended (they talk to each other). But the County Councillors may well refuse it based on public opinion. And then there will be another PI. I expect they will hope that the Cuadrilla decision is made public before they have to decide as this will have some bearing on the whole thing.

        • Yes, I suspect the County Council will mostly vote along party lines, Labour (sadly) will vote against since they purport to be anti-shale, perhaps because there is a tendency for the opposition to vote against anything the Tories support (though not all Tories I know support shale). The problem for the opposition is that if there is a refusal and it goes to a PI then the County Council could become liable for the applicant’s costs if they are judged to have acted without a valid objection within planning law. Given the planning officer’s recommendation this becomes an increasing possibility.

          By the way, if you want an example of a planning decision that really does seem odd, please note the Northumberland decision to allow new open cast coal mining.

          • Any costs which Councils may incur are not material planning considerations. Costs an applicant may try and obtain from Councils refusal and then success at appeal will be judged using the Wednesbury Test. There is and always will be many material planning reasons against the Industrialisation of UK green Belt next to peoples homes.

            Here is the proof to date. Note how small this development is. Passed at appeal but no costs awarded. Larger projects will not get costs awarded if successful at appeal. Planning Officers only make recommendations. Development Control Members are the decision makers and have dozens of local and NPPF policies to present to show large Industrial fracking sites are not suitable for green belt development which is becoming clearer by the week as more and more Councillors say no backed by material planning policies.

            Click to access Appendix%20C.pdf

  3. Nobody has discussed the environmental impact of fracking. Earthquakes, pollution of drinking water, including potential radioactive contamination. There is plenty of tried and tested and abandoned literature on fracking in the US and Canada and Australia.

    • Just to repeat the question I raise with all who object to shale gas exploration. I tend to assume they are in favour of increased use of renewable energy compared to fossil fuels, as indeed am I. BUT on a cold, still night in winter when renewables (apart from burning wood chips) will produce pgractically zero electricity, what will our back-up source be in the medium term? Coal, nuclear or gas (or combinations thereof) that’s the stark choice. What are the relative risks of each source in terms of community safety, UK energy security, effect on fuel poverty etc.

  4. Ruby – Clearly you have been on a different planet for the past 4 years? The issues you have mentioned have been discussed to death and reviewed than any other industry in the UK. Abandoned literature? Very little shale gas in Australia. Earthquakes limits are 1/40 of quarrying apparently.

  5. I am a drilling engineer for oil and gas with 35 years experience offshore/onshore nationally/internationally. Before I retire I would like to help deliver to the UK (or England and Wales if that is what must be) the benefits in terms of jobs and local and national prosperity of producing our own energy. I can bear witness to the enormous advantages North Sea Oil has brought our nation. This is on the wane, whether Scotland ultimately goes for independence or not. UK shale gas may prove uneconomic to extract and insignificant in quantity. We are waiting to find out. I am puzzled that shale gas development even on the smallest scale is to be banned on the basis of climate change arguments. Until we can harness nuclear fusion (star power), burning the fossil fuel methane gas (CH4) can help tide us over because it produces energy for use to cook our food and heat our homes as follows:
    CH4 + 2O2 = CO2 + 2H2O. This gives us less carbon dioxide (and no other nasties like nitrogen and sulphur dioxides) for the energy produced than coal C + O2 = CO2 (plus nasties). The forest of regulations which are in place to control onshore drilling and fraccing are state-of-the-art. Please come and do it in my back yard! I’d like to boost my pension and I’d enjoy the company for the short time the drillers and fraccers are around. It will be quiet and tidy when they are gone – I’ll make sure of that.

    • Hi KATE, good to see someone else on this board with relevant experience and talking sense. Most people on here try any excuse possible to try to demonise shale gas (while continuing to use electricity and heat their homes with gas). Climate change is one of the latest. The real reason they don’t want it is proximity to their homes. This is understandable but most of the reasons they put forward are not and have no sound technical support. They cannot understand that current renewables are never going to replace gas and nuclear for base load and demand load, and heating.

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