Regulation

IGas gets more time for site construction at Misson – despite concerns about owls

 

Misson Carr and IGas site

IGas site at Springs Road, Misson (in red) and the Misson Carr site of special scientific interest (blue). Source Natural England Link

IGas has been given extra time to prepare its shale gas site at Misson in Nottinghamshire prompting disappointment and concern from residents and environmental groups.

The company wanted to continue site construction at Springs Road throughout the bird breeding season, which begins today and lasts until the end of August.

Its consultants had argued that noise from the operation would not have “an adverse impact” on breeding birds, particularly long-eared owls, in the neighbouring Misson Carr Site of Special Scientific Interest.

longEaredOwl2

Long Eared Owl Photo: Sergey Yeliseev Licence

Yesterday Nottinghamshire County Council gave IGas the go-ahead to continue work for two months until 31 March 2018. Permission letter from Nottinghamshire County Council to IGas (pdf)

A condition of the planning permission, granted in 2016, required construction work to stop between February and August unless there was evidence that the birds would not be adversely affected.

The council said it had consulted Natural England, the county’s ecologist and noise engineer and Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust.

The RSPB was invited to comment, the council said, but the organisation had not submitted a response.

Nottinghamshire’s Planning Group Manager, Sally Gill, said:

“Based on the information submitted and advice received, planning officers are satisfied that continuation of construction works until 31 March, with restrictions, would not have an adverse impact on breeding birds, including long-eared owls. Restrictions include working time being limited to between sunrise and dusk, continuous noise monitoring and an immediate halt to all work should noise limits be exceeded.”

Misson Parish Council and the local Misson Community Action Group had opposed the IGas request. Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, which manages the nature reserve, said it remained concerned about disturbance.

DrillOrDrop reported last month that Misson villagers were concerned that IGas had relied on research about the impact of large developments on estuarine birds. The residents argued this was not relevant to the noise-sensitive birds on the Site of Special Scientific interest.

Chris Crean, Midlands Campaigner for Friends of the Earth, said today:

“Local residents fought a long struggle for these conditions.

“We now have to question the strength of the conditions and the ability of local authorities and other regulators to enforce them.”

Erin McDaid, of Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, said:

“We are extremely disappointed that the extension has been granted.

“We believe that the developer had every opportunity to complete the work within the original time-frame and this is yet another example of developers pushing back against legitimate planning conditions designed to protect wildlife.

“We note that the County Council have imposed restrictions on the working hours of the site and have set strict noise limits to reduce the impacts on sensitive breeding birds, as highlighted in our response to this consultation. We now hope that these will be rigorously enforced.

“We also believe that construction work should be stopped as soon as these levels are breached as it is essential that no risk of harm comes to the scarce and sensitive birds in the Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).”

180201 Misson owl

 

A campaign ran on social media, headed “Don’t be a twitwoo igas! My family needs a quiet home”.

Opponents of IGas’s plans have organised a day of action outside the site today.

A notice on the Frack Free Misson Facebook page said:

“A show of people, from the community, would be an amazing display of how we feel about the precious and rare species we have on our doorstep. It’s time to take a stand.”

Conditions

Nottinghamshire County Council said the work extension comes with conditions:

  • Construction work on weekdays must not start before sunrise and must stop at dusk (no later than 20 minutes after sunset).
  • Construction work on Saturdays must continue to end at 1pm.
  • Continuous noise monitoring is required in the long-eared owl roost
  • Noise at the roost must be within the maximum threshold of 51dBA LA max 5min
  • Construction work will stop immediately if noise levels exceed the limits
  • Results of noise monitoring shall be submitted fortnightly to the council

Updated on 12/2/2018 with quotes from Sally Gill, Chris Crean and Eric McDaid

6 replies »

  1. We have been here before, Nottinghamshire County Council have stated no penalties for IGas in case of failure to keep to these conditions, it has been shown time and time again with other operators that conditions are simply ignored and if the council really push for it, maybe an apology many months later, if at all.

    There must be the strongest punitive measures for failure to comply with conditions including closing down the site, and massive fines or confiscation of bond, no other deterrent will be in the slightest bit effective.

    In short, the extension should never have been awarded in the first place without a very large bond and conditions that confiscate the bond in case of failure.

    Pathetic Nottinghamshire County Council.

  2. “A day of action has been organised outside the site for today”. When does the breeding season start? Today!

    Obviously great concern for these noise sensitive owls. LOL. I get the sense, there is not much of the common variety in evidence. Should create just the right sort of headlines.

    • Shhh martin, too loud! your over frequent and unregulated decibel levels will have Nottinghamshire County Council after you for disturbing the IGas breeding season!
      Maybe, if you are lucky you will get a harsh word or two, oooooh scary! Now that is a real deterrent isn’t it?
      Twit Towooo! Ha! Ha!

  3. “Construction work will stop immediately if noise levels exceed the limits” – who monitors this? It appears to be IGas. Marking their own homework again?

    “Results of noise monitoring shall be submitted fortnightly to the council.” So it would appear that IGas could break the noise conditions on day 1 and not report themselves. Then in order to keep the records straight, they could ‘confess’ after day 14 or even later (if at all). Thus continuing without any break or sanction.

    By the way Martin, a day of action does not have to be a noisy affair. For example the day of action at Preston New Road yesterday was a Women’s Call for Calm. Nice and peaceful. Nor was it a one-off, it was the 26th week of this very moving event. We actually care about the environment and that includes our feathered friends.

    Yes, there is oil and gas beneath our feet. It does not follow that we have to use it. The Stone Age did not cease because of a scarcity of stones; we became more intelligent and we moved on.

    Have a nice day.

  4. Owls are disturbed by other things than noise Waffle. I have owls in my garden and surrounding area. Housing estate being built 200 metres away.

    And whilst you rightly state a day of action does not have to be a noisy affair the record of the antis would largely contradict that.

    If you don’t want to use oil Waffle that is your choice, but the tankers(thousands) still come into Fawley refinery, with or without your usage, and will do so for a very long time yet.

    Yep, the Stone Age was a bit of a stinker until fire and transport were mastered, then we started to like the idea of warmth and being able to get around the world outside the cave.

  5. Does anyone know who is setting up the roost monitoring?

    I am guessing that Nottingham Wildlife Trust are setting it up with IGas. The site is not open to the public other than by arrangement, so it is not as if you can just stroll,up to the roost at will with monitoring equipment.

    Plus I am sure NWT are not keen to identify where is is, to keep it safe.

    I expect that NWT will also be interested in the monitoring results as well as providing information as to any disturbance.

    It is an interesting site. Because it is an ex industrial site which was not turned over to intense agriculture ( as part of the overall site was) and people ( pesky humans ) are not allowed free access, there is a far richer flora and fauna than in the surrounding area.

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