Opponents of INEOS plans to explore for shale gas in a Derbyshire village stood in applause as councillors voted against the scheme this evening.
The Conservative-controlled county council planning committee opposed the proposal for exploratory drilling at Bramleymoor Lane in the village of Marsh Lane by nine votes to one.
This is the fourth time in a under a fortnight that English councils have opposed onshore gas plans and the second vote in 11 days against INEOS shale proposals.
Plans by Cuadrilla in Lancashire and INEOS in Rotherham were opposed unanimously. A scheme by IGas at Ellesmere Port was rejected by ten to one.
Today’s meeting, at County Hall in Matlock, heard from 16 opponents of the Bramleymoor Lane site, including residents, campaigners, local councillors and the North East Derbyshire Conservative MP, Lee Rowley. DrillOrDrop live updates
Two INEOS representatives attended the meeting but the company did not participate, making no statement nor defending its proposal. The committee chair, Martyn Ford, was the only committee member not to oppose the scheme.
But he criticised INEOS’s failure to attend the meeting:
“The behaviour of INEOS is disgraceful.
“To treat the people of Derbyshire with such disregard.”
This was Derbyshire’s first shale gas application. It was for a vertical coring well and did not include fracking or shale gas production.
Council planners had recommended approval. But councillor after councillor, both Conservative and Labour, said they could not support the scheme.
The key concerns centred on the estimated level of night-time noise from the site, which is about 400 from some homes, as well as the, impact of site traffic on narrow rural roads and the effect of the scheme on the openness of the Green Belt.
The meeting was not voting to give planning permission but to decide the council’s position at a public inquiry.
In December 2017, INEOS appealed to the Planning Inspectorate because it said it was not willing to allow more time for the council to decide the application. The council will now oppose the scheme at the inquiry starting on 19 June 2018. Eckington Against Fracking, a local campaign group, will also oppose the scheme. It has been granted Rule 6 status, allowing it to present evidence and cross-examine INEOS witnesses.
Last week Derbyshire County Council voted narrowly not to process an almost identical application from INEOS for the same site. DrillOrDrop report
The local Conservative MP, Lee Rowley, tweeted this evening:
“Delighted that the Planning Committee have chosen to reject the Bramleymoor Lane proposal 9-1! Congratulations to everyone who has worked so hard on this. One more step on the way to stopping fracking at Marsh Lane.”
More than 3,000 people objected to the application. An online petition, presented to the council this afternoon, had more than 92,000 signatures.
Dave Kesteven, campaigner with Eckington Against Fracking, said:
“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.”
Chris Crean, campaigner with Friends of the Earth, said:
“It’s fantastic that today Derbyshire planners have listened to local community concerns and rightly decided that the impacts of this drilling would be damaging and unacceptable, resulting in the industrialisation of the English countryside. 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 fuels in the ground if we are to prevent dangerous climate change, so it makes absolutely no sense to investigate the potential for fracking.”
Andrew Wood a planning officer from CPRE South Yorkshire , said:
“We told the planning committee that if they were worried that the impacts on the community and the countryside hadn’t been fully considered, this was the chance to intervene. We’re really pleased that the committee took that opportunity and have forced their officers to take a tougher line in preparing for the Public Inquiry.”
Deborah Gibson, campaigner with Harthill Against Fracking, said:
“I am happy the committee came to this conclusion; it shows how local democracy works when given a chance. Because Ineos bypassed the local planning process, we are all hoping today’s decision should now carry some weight with the Planning Inspectorate, alongside all our new objections. Our fight goes on but it’s good to know we have the Derbyshire planners rooting out this polluting, industrial blight that is totally inappropriate however you look at it.”
DrillOrDrop invited INEOS to comment on today’s decision. This post will be updated with any response.
Other recent shale gas decisions
On 24 January 2018, Conservative-controlled Lancashire County Council’s development control committee voted unanimously against Cuadrilla’s traffic management plans for its proposed shale gas site at Roseacre Wood. DrillOrDrop report. The plans are to be considered at a public inquiry scheduled to start on 10 April 2018.
On 25 January 2018, Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council’s planning board unanimously opposed INEOS’s shale gas plans for Harthill. DrillOrDrop report. INEOS also appealed to the Planning Inspectorate over the time taken to decide this scheme. A public inquiry is due to start on 1 May 2018.
Also on January 25 2018, councillors at Cheshire West and Chester Council voted by nine-one against plans by IGas for testing the Pentre Chert formation at its gas site at Portside in Ellesmere Port. The company is considering an appeal. DrillOrDrop report
Reporting on today’s meeting was made possible by individual donations from DrillOrDrop readers. See also Live Updates from the meeting