Reaction to Rotherham council’s unanimous opposition to INEOS Harthill shale gas plan

180125 Harthill meeting DoD6

Vote at Rotherham’s planning board, 25 January 2018. Photo: DrillOrDrop

Residents and environmental groups celebrated this afternoon as councillors in Rotherham voted unanimously to opposed INEOS’s shale gas exploration plans at Harthill.

The borough council’s planning board accepted the recommendation of planning officers to oppose the application at a public inquiry later this year on road safety and wildlife grounds. DrillOrDrop live updates

INEOS appealed in November 2017 to the Planning Inspectorate because of what it said were unacceptable delays in the processing of the application.

But councillors defended Rotherham planning officers for the way they had dealt with the application. The board chair, Cllr Alan Atkins, described INEOS’s decision to appeal as “shameful”. Another board member, Cllr Richard Price, said he was disappointed by “the contempt shown by INEOS for local democracy”.

After today’s vote in Rotherham, Cheshire West and Chester Council’s planning committee voted 10-1 to reject an application by IGas for testing a gas well at Ellesmere Port (details). Also today, the Business Secretary, Greg Clark, said he was delaying his decision on fracking by Third Energy at Kirby Misperton until the company had published its accounts and further financial checks had been carried out (details)

Yesterday Lancashire County Council also voted unanimously to continue to oppose Cuadrilla over its plans for fracking at Roseacre Wood (details).

DrillOrDrop has been compiling reaction to the Rotherham vote. We asked INEOS for its reaction. This post will be updated with any response from the company.

180125 Harthill site visit Paul Rowland 4

Councillors on a site visit to the proposed traffic route to the INEOS Harthill site, 25 January 2018. Photo: Paul Rowland

Deborah Gibson, campaigner with Harthill Against Fracking

 “This is excellent news for Harthill! The much bigger fight against the development of fracking here and in other surrounding areas, has received a boost today.

“It means that local democratic processes have allowed the people of Harthill to say NO and to be heard and validated by the local planning system. The next step is to take our fight to the Public Inquiry later this year.

“We hope the inspector will understand that the plans for fracking exploration site at Harthill are unacceptable for all the reasons stated today by the RMBC Planning Committee”.

Richard Dyer, campaigner with Friends of the Earth

“It’s great that today Rotherham planners have listened to local community concerns and rightly decided that the impacts of this proposal would be damaging and unacceptable. We now look forward to supporting the Council’s position at the public inquiry.”

“We know that we have to leave the majority of fossil fuel resources in the ground if we are to prevent dangerous climate change, so it makes absolutely no sense to investigate the potential for fracking.”

Dave Kesteven, campaigner with Eckington Against Fracking

 “I’m absolutely delighted that the council have decided to support those who elect them and not a multinational plastics manufacturer whose activities would disrupt our communities and pollute our environment.

“I am sure that this victory will be repeated at the public inquiry and sets a heartening precedent for our village of Marsh Lane which is fighting a similar threat.”

Andy Tickle, director of CPRE South Yorkshire

“We are pleased that the Council’s Planning Board has decided that drilling in this sensitive location is inappropriate and that the impacts were not fully evaluated. We will be strongly supporting the Council at the public inquiry that will now be held to decide the application.”

David Burley, Frack Free South Yorkshire

“Rotherham Planning Officers made their recommendation on sound material reasons based on years of experience of planning law and guidelines. Ineos now has to rely on the Planning Inspectorate arriving at a different decision under the same criteria. That seems unlikely.

“Rotherham Council should now refuse to handle Ineos’ duplicate planning application for Harthill and leave the original one to the Inspectorate’s public enquiry late in 2018.”

26/1/18 Cheshire West and Chester Planning Committee vote corrected to 10-1 to turn down the application


34 replies »

  1. Martin your diatribes are stuffed with something but it isn’t logic. I thought you said you and most of the countries populace weren’t interested in process and yet you u turn more than the current Tory Government on that.

    With regard to the site visit I guess that was carried out as near to the meeting as possible so that the councillors observations were fresh in their minds and to avoid any reliance on notes taken.

    And in relation to Ineos appealing the speed of the process that would appear to be an attempt by the applicant to by pass the local decision making process similar to the tactic of twin tracking Bramleymoor even though that has also been appealed.

  2. “I guess” followed by “would appear to be”.

    I’ll stick to the facts and the logic and leave the speculation to yourself and others. Simple question-did this council meet the statutory timetable? Having seen the “contributions” yesterday Ineos will be quite pleased to have been able to move to a more professional consideration, but that was down to the council to manage. Now the council have it out of their hands they will be quite pleased as well, but I am not sure other communities will welcome what could become a blueprint applied to them.

    If you have a problem with my logic and facts just filter my contributions. I put my name to them, so quite easy to do. Reading them may be addictive but is not compulsory. I can recommend it-it works for me. But, I hasten to add, not applied to your good self.

    • “I’ll stick to the facts and logic…” – There’s a fist time for everything Martin, do let us all know when you decide to start just in case the good people of DoD think your account has been hacked.

  3. This is why major companies don’t invest in uk. Too much local nimby bs plus weak central government that dither on making progress. No one want to put investment and then wait for half a decade the get bureaucratic approval just to drill a hole. China is changing their economy to superpower in that time while it take uk ministers about the same time to sign an approval just to drill a hole. No shame or pride.

    • It saddens me to say but I do agree with you TW. The UK has become a basket case literally overnight. I fear we are on a fast spiral downwards from now on. It has nothing to do with Brexit but everything to do with weak leadership that cannot put the whining left back in their cots. If you removed London from the rest of the UK you would see a horrid picture.

    • Or maybe TW a densely populated country, not (quite yet) oppressed who are able to enact (some) of their rights to freedom of choice.

  4. Faffing around with this industry is a sign of weakness. It should just reject it outright, as other more progressive countries have done, and concentrate on a cleaner energy agenda,,, restore incentives for solar and onshore wind and prepare for a radical overhaul of the power grid. Period.

  5. Good to see you are still addicted to my comments, crembrule!

    Whilst I can understand your excitement around Rotherham. Ellesmere and KM, careful you manage that excitement.

    Government sells licences, then it presides over a planning system which is used quite blatantly and repeatedly to delay those licences to be utilised, then Government says those companies have to show financial stability during and after that delayed process. Pretty obvious, and logical to me what comes next, but enjoy the moment.

    • Oh dear Martin, you have a very high opinion of yourself don’t you, I hold the polar opposite opinion of you though.

      You repeatedly blabber on about how you use only facts and yet your closing statement of your post is pure conjecture.

      Keep up the good work, you might eventually come up with a valid argument (ala The Infinite Monkey theorem)

  6. Why is it “conjecture” if I state what is obvious to myself?? Why would I have a very high opinion of myself? I have enough in my life, and am old enough, that I certainly leave it to others to have opinions of me (some concern me, most do not), and I will have opinions of others (some will be concerned what they are, most will not.) That’s life. Navel gazing is for those much younger, and less obese, than me. I am now comfortable in my own skin.

    I am not asking you to agree with what is obvious to me, I am not giving an indication as to what facts lead me to my “conjecture”, and yet you decide it is conjecture? Perhaps it isn’t, perhaps I have good factual reason for that, but I am not going to enlighten you, and neither will Giggle.

    Time will be the validation, to both our arguments.

    Talking of which, must re-focus to the footy now. Have a good weekend.

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