Council surrenders local decision on INEOS Derbyshire shale gas application

180129 Keep democracy local Dale Glossop

Eckington Against Fracking banner at Derbyshire County Council, 29 January 2018. Photo: Dale Glossop

The decision on the first shale gas application in Derbyshire will now be decided by a government-appointed planning inspector following a vote by councillors this morning.

The county council’s planning committee decided by six votes to four against dealing with INEOS Shale’s second application for an exploration site at Bramleymoor Lane in the village of Marsh Lane.

The first, almost identical, application for the site will be decided at a public inquiry, due to start in June. INEOS lodged an appeal on that application with the planning inspectorate because it said the council had not made a decision in time.

A group opposed to INEOS’s plans said it was disappointed at this morning’s vote.

Carrying a banner “Keep Democracy Local”, Jenny Boothe from Eckington Against Fracking, said:

“We felt it was important that this second application was dealt with by Derbyshire County Council.

“The authority had an opportunity to determine the application and chose not to.”

Council officers had argued that processing a second application would be costly and confusing to the public. They based their recommendation on powers under planning legislation DrillOrDrop report

INEOS’s planning consultant, Turley, said in a letter to today’s committee:

“We do not consider that this power should be used at this time.”

Turley said it was in the public interest for the council to determine the second application. The letter said:

“This application was intended to offer a route whereby a speedy determination could be reached, offering both parties the opportunity to avoid or reduce the cost and delay associated with the appeal”.

It added:

“INEOS is not engaged in a strategy to consistently re-apply for the same development in order to reduce, over time, the opposition to it.”

But it said the company would consider all the legal options open to it if the council decided not to decide the application.

DrillOrDrop invited INEOS to comment on this morning’s vote and to explain what legal options were available. The company said:

“INEOS Shale has the utmost respect for local decision-making and democracy and the work of Council officers and members. We would never pre-judge a committee decision and so await the outcome with interest.”

No public speaking

Members of the public were not allowed to speak at this morning’s meeting.

At present, people will also not be allowed to speak at a meeting next Monday when the same committee will decide what view it will send to the planning inspector on the first application.

This is in contrast to Rotherham council, where councillors heard from eight speakers last week when meeting to decide its view on another INEOS appeal. DrillOrDrop report

DrillOrDrop understands that public speaking at next week’s meeting is currently “under discussion” at Derbyshire County Council.

INEOS plans for Bramleymoor Lane

Bramleymoor Lane INEOS

Location of INEOS’s Bramleymoor Lane site (marked in red). Source: INEOS Shale

INEOS is seeking planning permission for five years to construct a well site and drill a vertical well to a depth of 2,400m. Drilling, using a rig up to 60m, would take 10 weeks, working 24-hours a day, the company has said.

It also proposes to take and test rock samples to assess the potential to produce shale gas. The application does not include hydraulic fracturing. But the well could be used to monitor any hydraulic fracturing from other boreholes.

The site is on the edge of Marsh Lane, about 300m from the nearest homes. It is directly to the south of the Moss Valley Conservation Area and a Special Landscape Area.

During the 11-week site development phase, INEOS predicts daily movements of 60 lorries and up to 14 abnormal loads. The 12-week drilling and coring phase would see daily movements of 46 lorries and up to six abnormal loads.

Council officer’s recommendation

A senior Derbyshire County Council officer has said conditions on dust, ecology, highway and traffic impacts, archaeology, lighting and noise would be needed in order for the first application to be acceptable.

In a report to next week’s committee meeting, Mike Ashworth, Derbyshire’s strategic director of economy, transport and environment, said:

“I find there would be no significant impacts or conflict with development plan policy that would warrant an objection from the MPA [mineral planning authority] to a grant of permission under the appeal, provided that a comprehensive set of measures to control and limit the impacts of the development on the environment and local amenity.”

Comments on the application

Mr Ashworth said in his report the county council had processed 3,192 individual letters objecting to the proposal. Two letters asked questions and nine letters supported the scheme. An online petition against fracking in Derbyshire had more than 67,000 signatures, the officers said.

There have been objections to the application from North East Derbyshire District Council, Dronfield Town Council, parish councils at Unstone and Eckington, Campaign to Protect Rural England, Friends of the Earth, Campaign for the Protection of Rural England, Eckington Against Fracking, Chesterfield Climate Alliance, Transition Chesterfield and Food and Water Europe.

There was no objection from the Environment Agency, Health and Safety Executive, Natural England and Derbyshire Highways Authority.

The Coal Authority said the site was in the defined “Development High Risk Area. Coal features and hazards must be considered, including a mine shaft close to the site’s eastern boundary.

Marsh Lane village from Bramleymoor Lane 170426 DoD

Houses in Marsh Lane from Bramleymoor Lane. Photo: DrillOrDrop

Key issues

Green Belt

The site is in open countryside in the North East Derbyshire Green Belt.

The local MP, Lee Rowley, who objected to the application, said there would be “unacceptable harm” to the character and openness of the Green Belt.

CPRE said the proposal would not preserve openness in the Green Belt, as required by the planning guidelines. The development would also not meet the test of “very special circumstances” to comply with planning policy, it said.

Eckington Against Fracking said a recent High Court case on Green Belt planning policy supported its argument that the application should be refused.

Mr Ashworth, in his report, said:

“The openness of the Green Belt would temporarily be materially compromised, for the period of the proposed operations.”

But he said the effect would be reversible and he said INEOS had not suggested a suitable site beyond the Green Belt boundary.

He said it would not be proportionate to judge the proposal as inappropriate development in the Green Belt and it could not be reasonable refused on these grounds.


INEOS predicted night time noise would comply with the maximum guideline limit of 42dB at nearby homes. The company said reducing this level noise would require additional mitigation that would be an unreasonable burden.

But the area’s joint environmental health service said that at this noise limit:

“It is likely the annoyance caused by the drilling noise may prevent getting to sleep in the first place and getting back to sleep if woken because the drilling noise will be more audible when background levels are low”.

Public objections also raised concerns about 24-hour disturbance from traffic and equipment and the accuracy of the company’s noise assessment.

The planning officer recommended a night time noise limit of 40dB.

Landscape and local amenity

INEOS said the landscape effects of the shale gas site would be short-term and temporary. A supporter of the scheme said the site would be screened by bushes and trees.

But Friends of the Earth said the development represented a “significant landscape and visual effect”, no matter how short a period of time the drilling rig was mobilised.

CPRE said the proposal was inconsistent with the valued landscape character. It also said it would be contrary to the local minerals planning policy because of its effects on local amenity, visual intrusion, noise, loss of tranquillity and disturbance.

Other opponents said the site was too close to homes and Marsh Lane Primary School.

The planner’s report said the impact would not be reduced to “minor” during the maintenance stage, as INEOS had claimed. The report also said an important hedgerow would have to be removed to provide the required visibility splays. It concluded that there would be substantial landscape and visual effects but they would be localised and temporary and so would not be unacceptable.

Bramleymoor Lane 170426 DoD

Bramleymoor Lane. Photo: DrillOrDrop


Opponents said narrow local roads were unsuitable for the traffic likely to be generated by the scheme. There were concerns about the safety of pedestrians, horse riders and cyclists. Traffic congestion was already a problem in the area, they said, and additional heavy goods vehicles would cause a major problem.

Friends of the Earth said INEOS had not considered the policy in the North East Derbyshire Local Plan which required that developments

“would not unduly disturb or detract from the visual amenity of an area by the attraction of large numbers of people or excessive traffic.”

Mr Ashworth said in his report he was satisfied that additional traffic could be absorbed into the existing road network and the significant impacts would be short-term.


Derbyshire Wildlife Trust and Friends of the Earth said the application’s habitat survey had not been carried out at the best time. As a result, it omitted the value of the site to foraging and commuting bats and breeding birds. Ground nesting birds, such as the skylark and lapwing, would also be under-represented in the survey results, they said.

Other opponents raised concerns about the impact on neighbouring Sites of Special Scientific Interest and on trees and hedgerows.

The planner’s report said lapwing and skylark could be protected by conditions. It also said there should be conditions to protect badgers, bats and breeding birds. It concluded:

“I consider it unlikely that there would be a significant effect on the ecology of the site”.

Bramleymoor Lane plan INEOS

Site plan of the proposed Bramleymoor Lane well. Source: INEOS

Climate change

INEOS said UK shale gas can “help meet objectives for lower carbon emissions”. But CPRE there was

“currently no substantive evidence to show that shale gas extraction will be other than injurious to meeting the UK’s legal requirements.”

Friends of the Earth said the development was incompatible with objectives on climate change in the National Planning Policy Framework.

The planning officer said:

“The proposal will inevitably be a contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and this could be minimised through careful site design. I do not consider that greenhouse gas emissions from the development would be so significant as to warrant refusal of the application.”

Cumulative impacts

INEOS has two applications for shale gas development in Rotherham, about 10km and 17km from Bramleymoor Lane. There are also sites at Misson and Tinker Lane in north Nottinghamshire where IGas started work recently.

Friends of the Earth asked the council to request a further assessment of the impact of other developments on Bramleymoor Lane.

The planning officer said there was:

“potential for simultaneous cumulative effects from concurrent development, in the event that they are taking place at the same time”.

But he said the likely timing of work at the different sites was highly uncertain and any simultaneous cumulative effects were not likely to be significant, given the duration of the operation and the distances between the sites.

Notice at Marsh Lane 170426 DoD

Protest sign on Bramleymoor Lane. Photo: DrillOrDrop

Air quality

Friends of the Earth said there was insufficient information on the impact on air quality. Public objections included concerns about dust, pollution from diesel fumes and leaks of methane.

The planning report said the proposal would “not give rise to any significant impact on air quality”.


The planning officer noted local concerns about lighting the site at night. He said if permission were granted it should be on condition that a detailed lighting scheme was submitted.



Public comments included concerns about disturbance, noise and dust, particularly for children at the primary school, less than 300m away. The impact of sleep deprivation was also a concern.


Supporters said the UK needed fuel independence and the development would contribute to future energy needs. Opponents of the scheme said the scheme would generate little employment for local people and would have a negative impact on tourism and leisure services.

The planning officer said:

“I [do] not consider any net economic benefit or disbenefit that the development might cause is likely to be particularly significant”.

Public consultation

Derbyshire’s public health department said INEOS had provided evidence of information and consultation events but there were limitations to its public consultation process.  INEOS had not shown how feedback would be shared with the community and stakeholders, the department said, or mentioned on-going consultation with local communities. It also did not provide evidence of how the local community would be involved in designing mitigation measures.

According to the report, data provided by INEOS showed that 52% of local residents who took part in consultation activities rated the community engagement as poor or very poor. A further 20% said it was neither good nor poor.

Report to Derbyshire County Council planning committee

27 replies »

  1. Lol and there we see how weak councils are, buckled under the weight of the powerful Ineos who unlike the smaller fish we have seen recently have plenty of cash to see through any planning application. It is a sad day that rather than award Ineos the right to proceed they have passed the buck to the government to do their job. Local planning for onshore O&G decisions is a sheer farce, the government needs to step in and remove the decision process from them as there will always be a conflict of interest. I guess the planning inspector will be our old friend Mr. Williams whom I do not have a a lot of respect for as he is the ultimate pencil pusher but I doubt he will go against us on this one.

    • Gotta disagree with GBK here. It isn’t that Councils are weak, it’s that they were never intended to make nationally significant decisions. This just makes the NSIP designation case all the more clear. It’s time that the greater good became the driving force.

      • EKT – in my opinion they are weak as they know under their professional guidance on planning applications they have no genuine reasons to not pass this. They have given into the minority mob whom are exceptionally vocal in comparison to our larger group. But you are correct in saying that they should never have been given the opportunity in the first place. A nice idealogy if everyone plays ball but of course that never happens. Lets just hope May is booted out come the autumn and Corbyn loses at the next election which will give the moderate Labour MPs the catalyst they need to take back their party from the far left. Once he is gone this country will grow some b*lls back.

  2. hmm – Turley ….

    There’s a Rob Peters who is a director at Turley and a Rob Peters who started out that Backing Fracking front group

    I wonder if the two of them are by any chance related? 😂

    • Labour in power you got to be kidding he wants to ban all private enterprise & Nationalize everything & with Abbot as their second in demand what with her bigoted view of white people & her math skills then God Help us

  3. Goodness refracktion-still trying to play the man rather than the ball? Becoming a bit of a fixation.

    I see some serious financial compensation coming from this one. Ineos will not be so accommodating as Egdon.

    • Not really Martin – its an interesting coincidence isn’t it?

      The Backing Fracking Rob Peters claimed on the BF facebook page that they were just “a recently formed residents group comprised of individuals that are concerned about the direction of the shale gas debate in the UK” .

      It’s probably just a coincidence of course, because otherwise the BF Peters would have been deliberately misleading people wouldn’t he?

      • Nothing compared to the fake troll centre Momentum have in operation. The lefties are the ones worth a watch, once you start following the money trail the donors become a little bit murky.
        So if it’s the same guy running BF it’s a mere drop in the ocean in comparison Hobbit.

          • While you are here though Peeny can you explain why your Bohara14 ID has gone silent over on Hot Copper AJL along with everyone else? It’s almost as though none of you have anything intelligent to say about AJ Lucas and their capital raising. Funny that!

  4. So, public excluded from speaking, officers not doing their job of dealing with the application, councillors passing the buck, BUT the blame must lie squarely with INEOS for subverting local democracy by appealing the first application when the council WAS doing its job, thoroughly as it should, and a government that showed in Lancashire it was too ready to overule local decision making and massive local opposition. Hopefully Greg Clark is now realising that Carillion’s downfall is a warning sign of the financial collapse facing the frackers.

  5. Yes, Ian, Ineos “financial collapse” is there for all to see!

    It is quite easy for anyone to examine the “financial collapse” of Ineos. Either you can not be bothered to do so and therefore end up posting what is a total contradiction of the facts, or you believe others on this site are too lazy or ignorant to do so themselves, and will believe it. Neither of those possibilities is likely to gain much.

  6. You are right Martin – Ineos have probably been insulated by their other activities and inventive UK taxation minimalisation strategy. It is the small fry who are looking very shaky financially, so we will probably end up with all the English fracking PEDLs owned by Ineos. Great news for plastic lovers eh?

    • Ineos only survived by jumping ship and avoiding UK tax (£540 million). They apparently owe as much as they are ‘valued’ on paper; valuations are subject to fluctuation.

      As the British public and supermarkets are now looking into moving rapidly away from most plastics use, partly due to the awareness of David and his team at Blue Planet, there will be a question mark over future productivity and cash flow. This should impact on INEOS participation in UK shale.

      • Sher you really need to get out of your ‘Shire” more often. I will pay for a ticket to India/China etc etc so you can see how far they have got to go before they start listening to “David and his team at Blue Planet”. The UK is an insignificant little island in terms of pollution.

        • DYOR. Lets look at micro plastics, and washings from clothes ingested by fish, then us? Plastic from the UK is shipped to those countries you offer to send me to, and ultimately ends up in the sea; it’s not them that need to listen, it’s we who produce and consume. Come on, GBK, you’re better than this?

          On a positive note: My local recycling facility has been filling up with returned plastics; usual time frame to fill container approximately four weeks, since December, one week; some way to go before there is a complete understanding of what can actually be put in the dumpster, but its a start 🙂

          Less plastic = less ethane = no shale; simples

  7. Sorry Sherwulfe-you have just caused the demise of the Corbyn economic “policy”! You really should keep away from economics, you seem to get yourself confused let alone anyone else.

    Most companies, and governments, have debt. Usually that debt is because the organisation is investing in growth-certainly the case with Ineos. No question over future productivity and cash flow. They have serious expansion underway and a tiddly (to them) £500m investment in UK shale will not be at risk. A few organisations who have ignored that so far may find out that error.

    Interesting that the antis still continue with their previous approach even when dealing with a totally different type of company. Just adding a plastic demon is not likely to galvanise many.

    • You’re so funny Martin. I’m sorry you think you know about these things, but you actually have no idea.

      INEOS are vultures and hyenas, picking up the scraps and trumping up assets. They produce nothing but toxic waste and sell it to you as a ‘good thing’.

      Time will tell,even INEOS will be thinking again about mopping up the disaster called UK Shale. As an investment it’s a dead duck.

      There is a strange psychology in losing. It’s what happens to people who gamble and sink; they keep going despite the odds and do not recognize that they could never succeed in a world of the rip off.

  8. Ineos is in a win-win position first off its making money Liquifying methane gas & shipping it to the UK where it sell it to you tree huggers, to heat your homes, on the other hand it is trying to extract the gas beneath your feet so it doesn’t have to expend more energy contributing to the climate changes you are so quick to mention in turning gas into liquid shipping it across the oceans & then turning it back to gas for you to heat your homes. which you short-sighted people cannot see would save tons off polition by not having to do that as the gas beneth your feet could be piped directly to your homes. Surely anyone with even half a brain. can see that is more environmentally friendly than importing the stuff but either way Ineos win.

    • Well well, what a sad little tirade of character assassination and personal abuse from the rattled anti anti gobsters!
      Perhaps they realise that the local authority have, rather than give Ineos a free ride to run rough shod over the planning permission process, they have instead handed Ineos over to the ever open waiting jaws slavering that reside in Westminster?
      Let’s have a look see at what has happened in the past to overarching overconfident tin pot little invaders shall we?
      Let’s look at the Romans, still here are they? Normans? French? At least twice? Spanish? Nope” Germans? No? Americans? Oh sorry, they are our bosom buddies aren’t they?? Well, we let them think they are anyway? EU? Hmmm, that little marriage of unequals didn’t last did it? All biggies they, no little time wasters and half measures there?
      And then who are these wannabe invaders and exploiters throwing their weight around? Egged on by, what? Three, four uncheer lead…..followers, plus an ever growing bunch of fake illusionists ghosting loudly and ineffectually? Well, well, if it isn’t little tin pot Ineos, thinking they own the game?
      Ha! Ha! It will be like a Minnie going up against a great white, red and blue?
      I can see the cutlery long knives being sharpened and honed as we speak?
      I wonder what whine will accompany Ineos when they see the row upon row upon row of specially honed sharpened jaws and the capacious meat carver being prepared for their…….welcome?
      Ohhh dear, it’s gonna be a show worth watching, minnow, meet great white, great white, meet, oh dear, gone already? Buuurp! Pardon!

    • ‘where it sell it to you tree huggers, to heat your homes’ no gasman, to heat YOUR home; but wait, this is from the North Sea reserves; god am getting dizzy, been here soooo many times before…..yawn.

      No INEOS = no plastic = no oil all over and in your food; simples

  9. Really Sherwulfe? What fuel do ambulances use, and who helps produce it?

    Ohh, I see. Our female colleagues should have their babies in a cave by the light of a beeswax candle. Welcome to ancient earth.

    • They clearly don’t run on plastic Martin; wait a minute….. maybe the Tories are putting it in the fuel tanks, that’s why the poor ambulance staff are taking four or more hours to get to the emergency calls as they have to push the vehicle to each location 😉

      ‘Ohh, I see. Our female colleagues should have their babies in a cave by the light of a beeswax candle. Welcome to ancient earth.’ – yes you’ve done it again; so far no one has come close to the award; it’s gonna be a landslide………

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