INEOS plans to explore for shale gas in the south Yorkshire village of Woodsetts are disproportionate, intrusive and in the wrong place, according to the parish council.
The proposal was already causing stress and anguish to elderly villagers, the council said.
The front page of the Woodsett Christmas newsletter (see below) said the council would strongly object to the INEOS planning application.
The council said the application had “many inaccuracies”, and described it as “extremely long-winded and difficult to traverse”. There were also questions about the ownership of the land earmarked for the site, off Dinnington Road.
INEOS has applied to Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council (RMBC) to drill a vertical coring well and carry out pressure tests. The application does not include fracking.
Woodsetts Parish Council said it was recommending Rotherham refuse the application on grounds including highway safety, loss of important open spaces, noise and disturbance, smell, effect on wildlife, inappropriate scale and enclosure of land.
This decision means there has been opposition from all the parish councils in the three locations where INEOS has made planning applications for shale gas exploration.
The company has appealed against non-determination of proposals at Harthill, also in Rotherham council area, and Marsh Lane near Eckington in Derbyshire. It alleges there have been unreasonable delays in deciding the applications, an argument rejected by the councils. DrillOrDrop reported yesterday these appeals would be decided at public inquiries.
Reasons for objection
Woodsetts Parish Council said in its formal objection (link here) :
“There are many inaccuracies in the application and it is extremely long winded and difficult to traverse.
“It is also noted that the ownership of the land and the gated area close to it is in question”.
The council added:
“This site does not offer any more advantages to the developer than one placed in a location away from houses and schools. To our knowledge Ineos have not explored fully or to our satisfaction alternative sites.
“We fully believe that the negatives aspects of the development as listed far outweigh the need to use this location.
“RMBC have not requested a full Environmental Impact Assessment for this development but considering there is now a cumulative impact across the current search area with Harthill and Eckington(Derbyshire) we would ask that this is re-considered.”
“Unsuited to heavy traffic”
On highway issues, the council said Woodsetts was a rural village unsuited to construction phase traffic or increases in traffic in other phases.
Woodsetts Road, which would be the route for lorries to the site, is used by children at the local school. Their safety should be a priority, the council said.
It argued that visibility splays for the site were inadequate and the proposed escort vehicles would cause disruption to residents. The proposal would exacerbate traffic problems that had been a serious concern for villagers for many years.
The council also said the size of vehicles would cause inconvenience to emergency services. Road sweeping would add to problem traffic and the proposed road signage would be unwelcome and visually unappealing. There would be an adverse effect on public transport and proposed changes to speed controls would be unwelcome and inconvenient.
“Overbearing and disproportionate”
The proposed site is in the green belt. It would be highly visible in an area of high landscape quality, the council said.
The proposed enclosure of the site and its overall size were not in keeping with the surrounding area and would be visually intrusive.
“It will have an overbearing and disproportionate impact on the surrounding area.”
The council said:
“Walkers and families who use the footpath and bridleway will lose the vast majority of their enjoyment of the area, ie quiet, peaceful and visually attractive views which at present increase the quality of life of many residents.”
“Stress and anguish”
The council said the site would be a nuisance for elderly people living nearby. “They should not be subjected to major upheaval and nuisance”, it said.
“It has been reported to our councillors the stress and anguish of this proposed development is already having a detrimental effect on their mental and physical well-being”.
The council raised concerns about noise and fumes from diesel generators and said this, along with light pollution, would have an adverse effect on homeowners and pedestrians. Because of the prevailing wind, the school was also likely to be affected.
The council said the site would have a “catastrophic effect” on wildlife in nearby historic woodland, including five species of bats, toads, hares, deer, partridge, quail and slow worms.
DrillOrDrop invited INEOS to respond to the parish council’s objection. This post will be updated with any response.
Public comments on the Woodsetts application close on 12 January 2018