Former Labour MP for Derbyshire shale village to work for INEOS

natascha engel

INEOS has commissioned the former Labour MP for North East Derbyshire, Natascha Engel, to a write a booklet on shale gas.

Ms Engel switched from opposition to support for shale gas despite plans by INEOS to drill in the village of Marsh Lane in her constituency. She correctly predicted to DrillOrDrop this could be electorally damaging.

She was narrowly defeated in the 2017 general election by the Conservative, Lee Rowley, who last week told MPs he had “complete and absolute opposition” to exploratory drilling in the constituency. DrillOrDrop reporte

A press statement from INEOS today said Ms Engel’s booklet would “better explain shale exploration and development” and would be “made available to the local community”.

INEOS said:

“Most importantly it will try to try to explain the issue as part of the wider context about combating climate change, our energy needs, and the positive impact on jobs, training, industry and community benefits.”

Ms Engel is quoted:

“I saw first-hand what the impacts are on small communities when they hear about a shale gas application near them – even when it’s only for exploratory drilling.

“What people want is information. They want to know how it will affect them and they want reassurance that it is safe. I hope that this booklet will provide some of those certainties.

“Most of all I hope that this will allow INEOS to work constructively with communities so that local people gain the most in terms of the jobs and apprenticeships that this industry could bring – something I have campaigned on for most of my adult life.”

Marsh Lane plans

Notice at Marsh Lane 170426 DoD

Opposition to fracking at Marsh Lane. Photo: DrillOrDrop

More than 88,000 people have signed a petition against fracking at Marsh Lane and there have been 5,000 objections to INEOS’s planning application for a vertical coring well (but not fracking).

When news of the application first emerged in January, Ms Engel told The Derbyshire Times:

“This is terrible news for the people of Marsh Lane and Eckington. Many residents have contacted me concerned for their safety and the security of their houses. I will be meeting INEOS and the county council to see how we can get a safety zone around areas where people live.”

Her constituency office in Eckington had an anti-fracking poster.

Natascha Engel office

Natascha Engel’s constituency office, January 2017. Photo: DrillOrDrop

But by the time of the election she had changed her mind. She wrote on her website (no longer accessible):

“I am not against fracking as long as the industry stays highly regulated and controlled. If taking shale out of the ground in the UK means that we have fewer greenhouse gas emissions, that we can control our own energy and get prices down because we are not importing it, if it creates a whole new industry with good jobs, if it is good for Derbyshire, then I support it.”

Powerbase reports that Ms Engel voted to make fracking companies apply for an environmental permit for conducting exploratory drilling (January 2015) but she was absent for a vote on a fracking moratorium. She voted against requiring more pre-conditions for where fracking could take place (February 2015) but she was absent for a vote on loosening conditions for when fracking took place in protected areas and national parks (December 2015).

Tom Pickering, Operations Director at INEOS Shale said:

“Natascha will give us a better insight into the needs and concerns of residents. As a former Labour MP and trade unionist, Natascha has always made the case for good jobs, as well as health and safety. At the same time, Natascha is well placed to give us a full understanding of local issues and help us to continue to be an open and inclusive organisation.”


171129 Bramleymoor Lane appeal notice.jpg

ON 24 November 2017, INEOS said it was lodging an appeal against non-determination of the Marsh Lane application and another at Harthill in Rotherham borough. The company said no decision had been made by the local councils “in reasonable time periods”. DrillOrDrop report

An INEOS spokesperson said the appeal was submitted that day. Earlier this week, INEOS’s agent posted notices about the appeal at the proposed site in Marsh Lane. People are advised to contact the Planning Inspectorate.

But the Planning Inspectorate told DrillOrDrop today that it had not received the appeal for Marsh Lane or Harthill. We have asked INEOS for clarification.

39 replies »

  1. Ineos buying politicians is hardly surprising , they will no doubt write the book too , she will just be credited . Im sure the people will see through this charade . Desperation by the most unpopular industry in the world.

  2. It will be shameful if the book is not a fair and balanced (NB balanced) representation of all the arguments, for and against.
    I trust it will be available to a wider public, because there are 1000s of people throughout the land who are potentially affected (threatened?) by fracking exploration.

    • I look forward to the booklet which will explain how shale will ‘get prices down because we are not importing it’

      She can explain why Centrica, EY, Bloomberg, and the oxford institute for energy studies have got their sums wrong when they quote figures on the cost of UK shale production.

      Then she can state the cost of imported Norweign gas and imported LNG and prove that UK shale is cheaper to produce.

  3. This MP lost her seat because she supported fracking, she has no credibility whatsoever. The fact remains these communities do not want fracking and employing this has been politician will not change that. But Ineos can just carry on throwing good money after bad.

    • Curious don’t you think that an ex Labour mp who previously opposed fracking, then turns on her own previous constituents and supports fracking and joins forces with ineos?

      And the conservative mp who replaced her in that very same constituency supports his constituents and opposes fracking?

      It just goes to prove all this divisive nonsense about left vs right, conservative vs labour, is all false fallacious fabricated fantasy?

      What really counts in this matter, as in every other aspect of human consciousness and existence, is integrity, loyalty to principles of humanity, responsibility and respect for people and everything and everyone the planet.

      The antithesis to that is greed, avarice, self centered selfishness, exploitative disrespect contempt and irresponsibility towards the people, the planet, and everyone and everything on it.

      We only have one planet, there is no back up, no earth2, no other people, no other community, no other ecology other than the one we have right now.

      And even if we did, why allow a few greedy avaricious individuals to destroy this one planet that we all live on, just fill some exploiters coffers in an offshore tax haven while the rest of us drown in their filth and hatred?

      Isn’t it obvious even to the most ignorant of us, that to look after one another, look after and repair and renew this beleaguered planet and respect it and take responsibility for it and protect it, is, and can only be the the way forward for everyone? Is that so hard to see?

      Going against all that is plainly and simply insanity and suicide. It’s not rocket science? But it is common science.

      Money is not the issue, it never was, we can be the richest skeletons on a burned out devastated planet polluted by our own filth and hatred, or we can be responsible respectful stewards of this precious green and blue planet that we rely upon for our very existence?

      Shouldn’t we leave this planet in a better condition than we found it?

      The choice was always ours, responsibility for everything and everyone or death by vicious self serving greed and avarice.

      Which will it be?

      This is a video of a chap who planted trees on his island for 38 years and turned his island into a verdant forest which is now self renewing and it’s ecology thriving.

      What will we have done in 38 years?

      [link edited by moderator]

      • Another link for the award winning documentary is here:

        Amazing what one man can do in the face of adversity, that, I think, is a lesson for us all.
        Well done protectors, you are together planting the seeds and trees of the future against the fracking flood, there is nothing more important in these besieged times than protecting our communities.

  4. The problem is that antis are generally quite aggressive in nature and seek to indimidate local people whom are more open to listening from both sides.
    There is a myth pushed by the less educated that they are somehow superior in knowledge from reading about ‘facts’ via Google.
    There are far more people like myself than there are greeny gangsters yet social media and the dramatic rise in loony left websites misconstrue that reality.
    It’s pretty clear now the current government doesn’t have a clue about creating large scale meaningful employment and the wacko Corbyn thinks borrowing more on a credit card will solve all the problems. The militant left aka momentum are killing the country at present.
    Hopefully old age will get rid of Corbyn and his dangerous comrade that is vice chancellor and we can swing back to right of centre as a nation.
    Britain is only a little cold and wet island [edited by moderator]

    • A classic tactic of the PR industry that constantly attempts to legitimise the fracking industry is to denigrate all opposition and their level of knowledge, generally through personal attacks. So anyway GBK, ref ‘The problem is that antis are generally quite aggressive in nature and seek to indimidate local people whom are more open to listening from both sides.
      There is a myth pushed by the less educated that they are somehow superior in knowledge from reading about ‘facts’ via Google.’ This is a very sweeping statement. What evidence do you have that the antis are ‘generally quite aggressive’ and ‘seek to intimidate’? What evidence that other local people are more open to listening from both sides? What evidence that the antis only get their facts from google or are ‘less educated’? As someone closely involved and very local to KM8, I have seen no evidence to support your claims. What direct experience of the people involved do you have? How close to the site are you? Have you listened to both sides? Can you answer the questions rather than merely deflecting them or just not answering?

      • It’s amusing to compare GottaBPeeny’s rants with the reality. For example last night at Mill Farm in front of the stadium peaceful protectors were attacked by a man who was subsequently arrested by the police. So in reality it is Peeny’s mates who are “quite aggressive in nature and seek to indimidate local people”, but he is desperate to persuade us of the opposite. Of course I doubt he even knows where Mill Farm is 🙂

  5. In the booklet where it explains how shale will get prices down I hope it explains why Statoil (the UK’s largest piped gas supplier),after taking advice from Chesapeake ( US major fracking company) are incorrect when they say

    “You can never say never but I don’t expect that. For us, it’s much more cost efficient, at least based on our own calculations, to develop offshore fields, our offshore Norway assets, and bring that gas into the UK by pipeline.”

  6. If I had a Portuguese winery, I would be emigrating to it and claiming PT nationality. This cold wet island is depressing even before INEOS and their like attempt to cover in in oil and gas wells. I think I witnessed the early moments of ‘seduction’ of INEOS’ new scribe, in Westminster. A vergonha!

  7. PS GBK, Corbyn is barely older than May, and he clearly has a clue. Now, if everyone in their 70s and 80s died out, the nation could swing youthfully and democratically way left of centre, and Gato could move in to No 10. I think he might get on rather well with Larry, @Number10cat.

    • Kathryn
      Maybe, but a new wave of oldies turn up to replace them of course.
      I think we may well get a left of left gov in at some time, as they say, when everyone who remembers how bad it was has died, you can repeat the mistake. It would clear the air a bit.

  8. Why is this an issue? The MP has his/her informed view and opinions about a political issue and must has the right to express amd help its cause in a civilized and legal activities. I assume many of the public would prefer her approach over the activists illegal means of expressing their political agendas by intimidation and obstruction and unlawful occupation of public roads and lands.

    • TW. The clue is in the description ‘former MP’. She is currently only a member of the Labour Party and at odds with their manifesto, so not holding out much hope for her future there; perhaps that is why she is looking for a new job……

  9. Well said TW. Interesting that the only information the antis want the public to access is their own Giggle selection. Not very confident in their arguments, are they? (Like John’s continual nonsense about importing gas and oil is the economic answer. No John, taxation upon UK industry is the game changer to that nonsense. Scotland nearly achieved independence on the back of it.) Maybe Natascha will point out a few more elephants in the room.

    • Maybe Natascha will finally be able to provide some verifiable data that shows all of the previous estimates of shale extraction costs in the UK are rubbish. Every time you or Peeny query them we ask you to come up with some figures to support your argument that UK fracked gas can be cheaper than imported LNG but so far …. zilch.

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