Fourth gas plan opposed in a fortnight as Derbyshire councillors vote against INEOS shale scheme at Marsh Lane

180205 DCC Marsh Lane 7

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


180205 DCC Marsh Lane8

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 [4], 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

21 replies »

  1. In a way I am glad that there is a trend in refusal of applications as it will trigger the government to take the decision out of local hands. Had it been 50/50 it would have been a far slower process for us pros.
    The councilors don’t have valid reasons for refusal, we already know they won’t stand up at appeal stage from previous cases. It has been the same process as with Wressle, councilors don’t know what they are talking about, then have to conjure up some reasons at the end in the hope they will stop costs being awarded against them.
    Large planning applications should never have been handed to local decision makers as there will always be a conflict of interest. It goes for fracking, shopping centres, housing etc.
    Anyway we will now hear from the PI that this is a goer.

    • That could backfire though GBH. So much local opposition may well prompt full parliamentary scrutiny of the fracking drive. Looks like that simply hasn’t happened yet. There’s a big whiff of fait acomplis about the fracking juggernaut.

      [Typo corrected at poster’s request]

    • That’s it GBH, make the best of it, 9:1, in a conservative held county council? Even a year ago that would be unheard of? It was always only going to be a matter of time before people woke to the toxic threat of fracking. That time has come, the cat is out of the bag, and not before time.

      Well done the councillors of Derbyshire County Council, standing up for your constituents and setting yet another precedent for common sense and rational planning policies.

      Even in central government, a 9:1 against Ineos in a conservative controlled council will be hard to overturn without bringing down the whole pack of marked cards.

      The tories in government are too busy ripping each other to shreds to risk yet another revolt in an all ready weakly propped up party. The wayward DUP and anti fracking tories, dont you just love those words? only need to play hard to get, or side with Gove and Johnson to unbalance the whole sorry mess.

      Anyway, the whole sorry fracking debacle is far too hot an overbaked potato to risk their entire political careers on just to pacify their fast evaporating paymasters. The EU retirement home has been closed to brexiteers now, unless, of course, they can string it out long enough to rip the UK tax payers off yet again? Only that way will they earn enough brownie points and to suck up to the EU and retain their promised directorships?

      If Ineos ever gets to central government, we will really see the prevarication delays, obfuscation and responsibility avoidance come into play. With endless committees that will now have to come clean over the nuclear waste issue. Now there is a contradiction in terms to excite the anti anti deniers?

      Now that deep borehole requirement for every licence holder at every well pad is an issue of real national security that will hit the fans with a loud and highly radioactive mushroom cloud bang!

      Going to get interesting isn’t it”

      [Typo corrected at poster’s request]

      • Isn’t government what the anti anti’s hope will hand them all Carte Blanche to start fracking?
        They can’t have it both ways, either they are their saviours to drag their sorry dysfunctional assets out of the toilet, or they “not for the greater good”?
        Which is it to be?
        Of course in actual fact, they are really only for their own disputed “good”? Not yours, not mine, not anyone who doesn’t belong to their private secret “club”
        And that means not for the newest wannabe “plebs on the block either”? The fracking operators will find they are on the wrong side of the club door and the government black and blue holes will eat them alive.

        • Precisely, Phil. We don’t aim to have it both ways. We aim to have it a single way. That way which serves the greater good. That way will be dictated by the central government. No private secret club of which I am aware, but that sounds a bit paranoid does it not?

          • Ha! Ha! That proverbial “we” you refer to, won’t get it in any way whatsoever, let alone one way. And is most certainly not representing anywhere approaching “the greater good”
            That resides in another domain entirely, one that seems to be unappreciated and unattainable by the fracking fraternity?
            In fact it resides in freedom of speech, protest and action, democratic and human rights, and works towards a clean natural energy renewable future, freely available for the everyone in the future, not just some miserable greedy few in the present.
            More of this unwanted narrow fossil fuel poisonous trap will just serve to ensnare us in a totalitarian slavery big brother fascist state, as is being attempted by some right now. That is not, nor ever will be for the “greater good” but will provide “greater bad” for all.
            There is no “one” way, that is oversimplified illusions and somewhat egotistical, and totally ignores the vast almost freely available possibilities of an entire planets natural energy systems.

            No private clubs in government are there? Ha! Ha! How naive? Ever heard of the Bullingdon Club? Skull and Bones? the Bilderbergers? Freemasons? Do you recall P2? The Independent Order of Odd Fellows? Which counted British Prime Ministers Winston Churchill and Stanley Baldwin?
            Not to mention the EU residue that still pervades and manipulates the laughable brexit non negotiations, considering we are irretrievably tied to the French armed forces and as such will never be independent. Why do you think our armed forces are being disabled and starved of funds?

            There are countless such private little closed and open door systems in place, each with its own agendas.

            Did you not know that?

            Dear oh dear! You lot really do not know what you are up against do you? Like lambs to the slaughter. Bigger minnows have found out too late and disappeared without trace or been absorbed and exploited.

    • I think you could do with a mathematics course Gasman , 80% of the population not supporting fracking and a 9-1 vote against it here does not make us a minority .

  2. And who represents the needs of the many gas man? Parliament. Have the fracking laws received full debate and scrutiny in parliament yet? I doubt it. There was no mention of it in the Queens speech and elsewhere it was said to have only been ‘proposed’ as a national infrastructure strategy.

  3. A very valid case for refusal. Who gives such companies the right to disregard peoples safety, to damage the environment and to pollute our oceans. We dont need fracking (or any other word they can come up with for it to try and manipulate the system)
    WE SAID NO!!!!!

  4. And over TWO THIRDS not against fracking Jono. Maths. can be so confusing, but when test fracking is authorised by the Government and TWO THIRDS of the voters (if you follow the survey) are not against it-then it will happen. Less than ONE THIRD is a minority.

    The decision will be taken out of the hands of the councils. They are obviously themselves operating to achieve this as they can see that large costs could accrue against them, and then local NIMBYS could be trying to explain to the rest of the locals why services are being cut.

    So, what has been achieved in 10 years?

    Antisocial activity creating the need, and utilisation, of injunctions to protect lawful activity and local peaceful existence.

    And now, local intimidation of the planning process likely to be removed to be decided by the professionals.

    Ineos have been sitting quietly waiting whilst this has all been unfolding. Played a blinder. They had a huge archive of information to achieve an injunction. They will have the same to speed up the planning process.

    • And Martin, don’t forget that once fracking has been undertaken and Lancs fails to fall into the sea, quite a few of the antis will see that they have been hoodwinked and will move over into the neutral column. Regardless, the polls are a strawman argument. Energy policy decisions cannot be decided by polls because if they were, the nation would have a dysfunctional energy system. The people want affordable energy that isn’t too damaging to the environment. Gas is really the only thing that will give that to them. Thus the people want gas.

  5. Third Energy have started moving their equipment off km8. What happened to the frack? To the permission to frack? Fracking is finished in the UK. Bye bye INEOS, TE, Cuadrilla. Hello listening to the people, the local residents, and sustainable and renewable energy, battery storage. Looks like the Tory party are disintegrating too. Fossil fuels ARE being phased out, and the writing is on the wall for the oil and gas industry. We are taking out the most polluting forms or stopping them developing new ones in their tracks. One by one operators will shut down. Outcompeted by popular renewables, far far more popular than fracking. Thats maths and reality for you. Ha ha. Lets hear it for local democracy – maybe its not dead after all.

  6. All this is, is another delay for INEOS and more costs for the council when it eventually gets overturned. Same with wressle, after trying to find any minor fault to back up the council. Egdon have to tweak 2 aspects and then when it goes back to the council there’s no way they can refuse it because all the rest of the plans have already been passed by Kerry Williams.

    Both didn’t involve fracking, so nothing new or controversial about conventional extraction.

  7. George, this application has already been appealed by INEOS well before the meeting. The purpose was to establish the LA’s position prior to the Inquiry. You seem very cocksure this will get overturned (it wont be overturned because the LA hasn’t refused the application), it has however established the principals in planning law that they will object to the proposal at the planning inquiry as a Rule 6 party. The PI may find in favour or against the appellant but that recommendation will come from the strength of the legal arguments made by the respective parties.

    cheers CB

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