Nottinghamshire councillors meet in the morning to decide on the county’s first shale gas planning application.
The county council’s 11-member planning and licensing committee will hear arguments for and against proposals by IGas to explore, but not frack, the Bowland shale at a site in north Nottinghamshire.
New information from Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust could block the development. The Trust said yesterday evening a 1969 legal covenant allows it to prevent “noisy, noxious or damaging activity” taking place on the site, which is next to a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Lawyers from Friends of the Earth, who are representing the trust, have written to IGas warning it that the trust considers its drilling is “likely to cause both nuisance and annoyance, within the meaning of the covenant”.
DrillOrDrop has compiled key facts about the meeting, the application and the site. We plan to post live updates from the meeting.
Date: 5 October 2016
Location: County Hall, West Bridgford, Nottingham NG2 7QP
Nottinghamshire County Council Planning and Licensing Committee:
Labour: Committee chair, John Wilkinson (Hucknall), Roy Allen (Arnold South), Steve Calvert (West Bridgford Central and South), Jim Creamer (Carlton West), Yvonne Woodhead (Blidworth)
Conservative: Committee vice chair, Sue Saddington (Farndon and Muskham), Andrew Brown (Soar Valley), Keith Walker (Balderton)
Lib Dem: Stan Heptinstall (Bramcote and Stapleford)
Ashfield Independents Group: Rachel Madden (Kirkby-in-Ashfield South)
Mansfield Independent Forum: Andy Sissons (Mansfield South)
Officer recommendation: Approval with 37 conditions
Presentations expected from: Nottinghamshire County Council planning officer, Oliver Meek; Misson Parish Council; Misson Community Action Group; Frack Free Nottinghamshire; Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust; IGas; UK Onshore Oil and Gas (industry body)
What the committee will consider: Whether the proposals are an acceptable use of the site; visual impacts; impacts on neighbours, the local environment, highway capacity, rights of way, historic environment and ecology; risk of contamination and flooding; consistency with planning policy; economic impacts.
Location: Off Springs Road, Misson
Size: Compound measuring approximately 240mx160m plus driveway and pull-in
Former use: Surface to Air Guided Weapon facility used to launch the Mk1 Bloodhound Missile. Known as the Rocket Site
Planning permissions: Consent granted in January 2016 for drilling up to four sets of groundwater monitoring boreholes, already drilled and installed
Security: Hoardings are proposed on the front of the site along Springs Road. Yesterday there were three security gates between the site and Springs Road
Nearest village: 3.2km (about 2 miles) from the centre of Misson
Listed buildings: Newland Farm House (Grade II listed) is 540m to north of the site
Nearest occupied homes: Prospect Farm (130m north of site) and Levels Farm (260m north west)
Nearby wildlife sites: Mission Training Area Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), also called Misson Carr SSSI, is 125m east of the boundary. Managed by Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, it is designated for open water, ten, neutral and acidic grassland, dry oak woodland and nationally restricted wet woodland. Mission Line Bank SSSI is 1.7km away and the River Idle Washlands SSSI is 1.9km away.
Petroleum Exploration and Development Licence area: PEDL140
Application submitted: October 2015
Proposed development phases:
- Site construction (14 weeks)
- Drilling: rig mobilisation and demobilisation; one vertical well into shale formation to 3,500m (14 weeks); one well drilled vertically then horizontally (19 weeks). Total duration 39 weeks.
- Suspension of the wells and assessment of results (14 weeks)
- Well abandonment, decommissioning and restoration (14 weeks)
Fracking: This is not proposed but IGas has said it may apply in future for permission to flow test the wells, when fracking may be used.
Wellpad size: 100mx80m
Drill rig height: Described by IGas as 57m
Other equipment on site during drilling operations: Includes blowout preventer; choke manifold (valve to lower pressure); shale shakers (remove large solids from drilling fluid); degassers (remove gasses from drilling fluid); centrifuge; diesel-powered generators; power distribution unit; power control room; hydraulic power unit; tanks for diesel, oil-based mud, water, cement; drill mud pumps and tanks; drill casing storage area and pipe rack; equipment for drilling cutting handling, mud logging, well cementing, wireline logging, slick line and directional drilling; drilling motors; coiled tubing; offices and staff accommodation; lighting.
Daily traffic movements:
- Well site construction: 36 heavy goods vehicles movements (18 in and 18 out or approximately one every 20 minutes for 12 hours) – 82 days; 20 light vehicles movements (10 in and 10 out) – 77 days
- Rig mobilisation and demobilisation: 12-16 HGVs movements; 10 light vehicles movements
- Drilling: 10 HGVs movements – 228 days; 40 light vehicles movements – 228 days
- Evaluation: 10 light vehicles movements (no HGVs)
- Restoration 36 HGVs movements and 20 light vehicles movements
Working hours: 24 hours a day during drilling; other activities 7am-7pm Monday-Friday; 7am-1pm Saturdays.
Three consultation periods Autumn 2015 (8 weeks), April/May and July/August
Individual responses: 2,629 at the time of the officer’s report, of which all but six were objections.
Organisation responses: 55 responses, of which 44 made no objection and 11 did.
No objections subject to conditions: Organisation included Bassetlaw District Council; Coal Authority; Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council; Environment Agency; Health and Safety Executive; Highways England; Lincolnshire County Council; Natural England; Network Rail; Nottinghamshire County Council departments; parish councils of Finningley, Mattersey and Everton; Public Health England; Yorkshire Wildlife Trust; water companies (Anglian Water Services Ltd, Yorkshire Water Services Ltd, Severn Trent Water Ltd)
Objections: Organisations included Misson and Blaxton Parish Councils; Bassetlaw Against Fracking; Frack Free Nottinghamshire; Friends of the Earth and the Nottinghamshire branch of the organisation; John Mann MP; Misson Community Action Group; Nottinghamshire branches of CPRE and the Wildlife Trust; RSPB; The Ramblers
Misson Parish Council Survey: This found that 87% of residents who participated opposed the application, 4% were in favour and 9% undecided. 396 of the 520 residents on the electoral register took part.
Petition: 363 signatures of people opposed to the application
Last minute plea: The Mansfield Chad reports legal advice provided Friends of the Earth’s Rights & Justice Centre to Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust that the operations would be in breach of a longstanding restrictive covenant which prevents noisy, noxious or damaging activities at the proposed drilling site and the SSSI managed by Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust.
Local minerals policies: Nottinghamshire’s Minerals Local Plan (adopted 2005) and the emerging Minerals Local Plan, not yet approved. The emerging plan includes a policy that applications for exploration, appraisal or extraction of hydrocarbons will be approved only if they do not adversely affect the local environment or nearby communities.
Other local policies: Bassetlaw Core Strategy; Misson Neighbourhood Plan
National policies: National Planning Policy Framework; Planning Policy Guidance on Minerals