Decision due on INEOS’s shale gas plans for Woodsetts

170926 INEOS injunction Woodsetts Against Fracking

INEOS staff installing injunction notices at the proposed shale gas site at Woodsetts. Photo: Woodsetts Against Fracking

Plans by the UK’s biggest shale gas licence holder to drill on the edge of the village of Woodsetts are to be decided in the morning by Rotherham Council’s planning board.

This is the third application by INEOS Upstream to come before councillors this year. Plans for Harthill, another village in Rotherham, were opposed on 25 January 2018. 11 days later, Derbyshire County Council opposed a similar scheme in the village of Marsh Lane. Both these applications are to be decided by a planning inspector following public inquiries.

At Woodsetts, INEOS has applied for a five-year permission to drill and test a 2,800m vertical coring well in the green belt. The site is 25m from an area of ancient woodland and about 500m from homes.

Rotherham planners have recommended refusal of the Woodsetts application because they say INEOS failed to carry out sufficient surveys of badgers, bats and breeding birds.

A local opposition, group, Woodsetts Against Fracking, has submitted a 76-page objection. Representatives are expected to speak at tomorrow’s meeting on the group’s concerns about pollution, traffic, ecology, the risk of contamination and the ability of fracking companies to pay for any clean-up.


Woodsetts protest against INEOS shale gas plans and injunction, 25 October 20117. Photo: DrillOrDrop

A survey carried out in the village in August 2017, after INEOS announced its plans, found that 90% were against fracking and one per cent was in favour.

The Parish Council strongly objected to the scheme, describing it as “disproportionate, intrusive and in the wrong place”.

Ultimate intent is fracking

The application does not include fracking. But Woodsetts Against Fracking (WAF) said:

“It has the ultimate intent of fracking and is the first step in a much wider plan to produce plastics and not to provide energy.”

The group pointed to INEOS’s website which says the company’s move into UK fracking is to supply its petrochemicals business.

A spokesperson for WAF said:

“This isn’t about providing energy for our homes as Theresa May keeps saying. Her own government report says we do not need fracking to secure UK energy supplies, and INEOS themselves admit that this is about making plastics in a way that’s more profitable for them.

“If this goes ahead it will be a travesty, industrialising this quiet, rural community for the profits of a greedy petrochemical giant”.

The group added:

“These plans are for an industrial site to be in place for up to 5 years, producing 24×7 noise and light pollution, and a 600% increase in very large HGV traffic on rural roads.

“INEOS’s plan, to drill through the local drinking water supplies and coal mine workings, has never been done before.

“Concerns are being raised in government about the financial longevity of fracking firms and their ability to fund resolving any environmental disasters they cause.”

Shale could generate enormous investment and jobs

In a statement to DrillOrDrop, INEOS said:

“INEOS Shale is disappointed by the news that Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council officers have recommended the application for test core drilling at Woodsetts be rejected.  INEOS feels that the plans presented do offer the right amount of ecological mitigation as part of what is straightforward application.

“The application allows for the drilling of a single vertical core bore well to gain scientific knowledge of what is below the surface, which has been agreed by many Councils many times in the past to support its coal industry across the region. This is no different.

“It is important to note that a completely separate application must be made for the extraction of gas. Shale gas is a resource that is of strategic importance to the UK and issues of energy security always have to be factored in.

“The key message here is that if shale gas proves to be successful in the UK it will become a vital piece of the nation’s infrastructure, and will provide the UK with its own source of gas making it less dependent on foreign supplies. It will also generate enormous levels of investment and jobs in the North of England where they are desperately needed, and will also help the UK to meet its climate change commitments.

“Rotherham relies on manufacturing jobs, but these are not secured or created without investment and there is precious little investment in the North of England in manufacturing at the moment.  Recent figures on jobs and investment estimate that the shale industry is expected to bring in £33 billion of investment into England alone over the next two decades.

“The resources beneath our feet can be used to create jobs, heat our homes, go a long way towards self-sufficiency and improve our balance of payments and the environment all at the same time.”

Meeting details

The Planning Board meeting begins at 10.30am at Rotherham Town Hall, Moorgate Street, Rotherham. S60 2TH. Details

  • DrillOrDrop will be reporting live updates from the meeting. It can also be watched on a webcast link here

28 replies »

  1. Hmmm

    I think that Woodsetts agains Fracking need to get some advice.

    Drilling through the aquifer and mine workings is not a new thing. The Aston and Whitwell 1 oil wells are close by, and the Eakring and Egmanton oil fields are bristling with wells drilled through aquifers and coal,workings.

    Plus the plastics argument does not hold up as per past posts.

    I can u derstand the other issues ( traffic, ecology and and so on ) but why ruin the argument with duff statements on mineworkings and plastic?

    • Why ruin the anti anti stance with
      Russia Gate?
      North Korea Gate?
      Cries of NIMBY and treehugger and greeny gangsters at every pathetic opportunity?
      Cries of swampies and out of towners?
      Accusations of faked up social media fabrications?
      The plastics issue is very much alive and is entirely relevant and it is this process of denial and obfuscation of issues that has characterised the entire anti anti stance from the start.
      It is so fascinating to watch the industry and government trolls and shills and astroturfers attempt to reframe the entire scenario into carefully redacted boogie man politics.
      It doesn’t work, it has been tried before, this is the Corbett Report on similar activities in USA, read and translate that onto UK

      • Phil C
        4th point down in your post. Plastic. Is INEOS just about plastic? I say that they will be as happy Fracking if the Ethane content is low, as if it is high, and for a Cuadrilla and the rest ( Tinkers Lane / Misson ) it is not material as well. It’s nothing to do with there being too much plastic in the world, that has turned up without any drilling in the UK and, given the glut of Ethane in the US, may continue unless we all stop using it.

        Re the other points let’s see

        Anti anti, obsfucate, something gate, nimby, treehugger, greens gangster, pathetic, out of towners, faked up social media fabrications, denial and obsfucation, trolls, shills, astroturfers, redacted boogie man politics, Corbyn.

        Maybe some sort of invective bingo we are playing here?

        Re Woodsetts, more likely to succeed than Harthill as it’s off a larger road. Not sure why it’s not further from the houses and wood. Plus back to school on Ecology report.

        • Ha! Ha! (thats just for G-Reg! Hi!)
          I am just reflecting the invective back to the anti anti source from whence it came from, hewes62.

          Fun isn’t it? The source of that invective is your own esteemed colleagues, I am just pointing that out, do you object to that?

          ….bingo? maybe you should ask your esteemed colleagues about invective bingo?
          Poker or chess maybe?
          But Bingo?
          Something Gate? What is that? A problem with saying Russia Gate and Korea Hate hewes? Why is that? Touchy subject because of it’s tory party political propaganda origins?
          About plastics only?
          Did I say that?
          No, I didn’t.
          But if you wish to continue stretching the metaphors to their logical conclusion, it is about profit at the expense of the environment, yes it is.

          The other issue of course is drilling down through mine workings and time and structurally weakened strata.
          Now there is an interesting subject?
          Your post would intimate that such conditions are easily dealt with, but the proposals to drill and store gas near Swanage was rejected because of the ancient limestone mine workings and the structurally weakened subsurface conditions.
          Also I lived in Bath for a while and there were houses collapsing and subsiding because they were built on ancient mine workings and due to new build and increased HGV traffic, were collapsing under the strain. I looked at a couple of houses which were subsiding and the mine workings had collapsed to such a degree that the foundations were no more than 2.0m above a collapsed abandoned mine working. Remote camera surveys showed that the condition extended along the road and all the houses had to be underpinned and reinforced. That situation is still being dealt with I understand.
          We tried to get records of the precise position and the proximity of existing mine workings but records were vague and the structural state was only possible by subsurface camera and live exploration and site investigation on a case by case basis.

          So, no, mine workings are not a simple and easily dealt with condition, each individual case needs to be explored and assessed in isolation, and drilling for gas and oil will add to that complication and increase the risk of leaking and gas build up and the risk of ignition and explosion.

          Drilling through and extracting whatever materials via such mine workings can only be dealt with on a case by case basis, and no “cover all” assurances of easy easy will change that.

          Always a pleasure.

          • Korea Hate? Well that was a political fraudian slip wasn’t it?
            Love this predictive text, it has a sense of humour all it’s own?
            Leave it in, much sense can be said by accident?

          • Phil C

            Invective bingo can be played by all, and no doubt we have all leaned towards using it when frustrated at what we read.

            Re mining, yes its all interesting stuff. But there is a difference between what you mine and how you have done it.

            Unless you lived in the Somerset Coalfield, near bath, your mine workings are not coal workings.

            The workings around Woodsetts are coal workings and relatively deep, having been worked from Dinnington Colliery and Kiveton Park Colliery. Other collieries in the area were Whitwell and Manton and (the last to close ) Maltby. There are no shallow workings are you would find around Hardwick Hall or Eckington, for example.

            The workings in the area are multiseam longwall workings at depths of over 500M. In this type of working the coal face advances (or retreats) and the waste (Goaf) falls in behind the roof supports. The only open spaces left are the roadways, which were typically 16 ft wide by 12 ft high Arches. Depending on floor lift and associated face interaction these roadways may still be that size or have collapsed to something around 2ft by 2ft.

            The subsidence happens as the coal is mined, or soon after. As your house is dropped, cracks open up in the walls, once dropped, the cracks close and then the NCB would turn up to fix the damage. If you were unlucky and the coal face stopped with your house in open crack mode (which was unfortunate) the NCB would turn up and do more repairs, underpinning and so on. Underpinned houses are not uncommon in old mining areas.

            Some houses could not be undermined (in NCB days) as they would cost to much to repair. Glapwell hill was a no go area as the houses were all built on steep sloping ground, so you would not be sure exactly how they would all behave as dropped.

            As you can imagine, mining under farmland was a lot easier, hence the last mines open avoided built up areas and preferred agricultural or forest areas. Hence the forests around Edwinstowe are well mined, including the Major Oak.

            What is exactly where is well known. Each mine had a surveyor and survey dept and plans were well kept in the 20th Century. Initially to ensure no one stole your coal underground and latterly to ensure each mine did not bump into another and that we could map sub surface features appropriately. This was supported by seismic surveying and boreholes to determine what we were going into and the gap between us and the aquifer, which was above us in the main. surveying was part of the course for all mine managers.

            So, to drill through mine workings you either drill through a bit of coal not mined (and there are lots of areas not mined in longwall workings), or drill through the waste – the collapsed area. Drilling through the waste is not a big issue, we drove roadways through it, as the waste is de -stresseed. The re-moved seam could be identified by a pencil thick line across the bottom of the heading.

            There is no problems with gas, your mud controls that, if any. If you were unfortunate enough to hit a roadway, you would lose our mud (shut in and think about it). As far as I know this was only done in one of the early oil wells near Hardwick hall circa 1918 when they drilling into a working colliery. The mine manager took the toolpusher underground to see the drill string sticking out of the roof.

            They were drilling over shallow workings on the Brimington Anticline where some of the shallower seams outcrop (High Hazles for example), but a good place to look for oil I guess.

            There is no risk of gas causing an issue either, whether you go though a seam, goaf or hit a roadway. There are plenty of oil wells going though coal seams of working pits (Bilsthorpe perhaps the best example, but Bevercotes had a few).

            Drilling a small hole though mine workings is nothing compared to removing a few square miles of coal 6 ft thick and dropping everything behind you (houses, aquifers, canals, railways, roads ), and then maybe doing it few more times in different seams. It works the faults as well.

            • Thanks for the detailed information hewes I shall read it through thoroughly.
              Presumably such conditions still need to be addressed on a site by site basis?
              It’s often not what the records show, no matter how accurately recorded, it is the relative condition and structural integrity locally and how that is effected by the exploration and extraction that needs to be addressed.

              Cover all assurances just lead to suspicion of oversimplification of issues that require more attention than brush off generalisations imply.

              Is that still relevant in your knowledge base?

              I notice that you have avoided referring to any other point, particularly that as you stated:

              “I can understand the other issues ( traffic, ecology and and so on ) but why ruin the argument with duff statements on mineworkings and plastic?”

              I simply showed that “duff” epithet could be equally returned to sender and as such “duff” statements are by no means “duff” or mistaken or irrelevant in the correct and entirely relevant context of fracking and oil and gas exploration and extraction.

              Being told by those who wish to denigrate any attempt to question this industry is always attended by these “duff” and nany many other epithets and implied insults and as such is simply an unacceptable practice in a civilised discussion.
              Perhaps we can all play invective bingo, poker or chess or whatever.
              But that is just point scoring gameplay and belongs more to political social engineering tactics than any genuine discussion forum, and we should perhaps agree to reduce if not desist from such practice?
              Not that I will hold my breath that such a consideration will be observed, just look at other posts here?

            • Phil

              Yes, such issues need to be addressed on a site by site basis. But coal mine workings at that depth are not workings just waiting to collapse, or to bleed methane to the surface and so on.

              The Coal Authority are the experts on this and they have to give permission (as they no doubt have ).

              Duff is the term for slack ( small coal ) and I think it fits the bill here.

              I have not discussed the other issues yet, such as traffic and so on, but happy to do so, probably from the comments arising from the meeting today.

              You can question the industry for sure, but why ignore the answers?

              Time presses, and Mrs H wants to go see some houses (as we are moving ) around the Worksop. Ranby maybe, Dinnington, Harthill, many be Blyth. it will probably up the pro fracking numbers by 100% depending on where we land.

              More on mining in a bit with pictures, plus some extracts from anti frack web pages which worry about it, but should not, in my opinion.

  2. Not just that, they are concerned about the ability of INEOS to pay for any clean-up. If they can not be bothered to do any basic research but just fire a blunderbuss these decisions will rightly exclude them.

    I think there is a close call between these decisions being taken away from the locality and INEOS being awarded sizeable costs against one. It’s going to be interesting. Some could end up with a precept on top of coming precepts.

  3. Oooo now let’s think…. A NIMBY council deciding if it wants to allow a development to go ahead. That’ll be a no then. Ineos already have it factored in, the appeal papers are just waiting to be filled in, just need to wait and hear what nonsense the Councilors come up with this time as their excuses. Based on the recent planning fiascos by councils I don’t think they even need a valid reason anymore as the appeal process allows for an entire set of new reasons 🤔. Process is flawed & needs updated.

  4. Imagine GBK as a diplomat! How to ‘lose friends and not win people over’ – there must be a book in that somewhere. Hewes62 gets it … understand’s their issues and spots the opportunity for dialogue/negotiation (preferable to just ‘giving advice’ I’d say). I’m not suggesting it should go ahead, just considering the weaknesses in PR when you get people who confuse Right vs Left with Right vs Wrong. Good luck with that! It’s a Tory council by the way … isn’t it?

    • Your side doesn’t put up any diplomacy and as usual you fail to understand you’re a hypocrite.
      We’re fed up with you lot now, was a bit of a laugh at the start but your naivety is actually bewildering.
      Looking forward to showing you that our side will always hold the stronger hand.

  5. You have to wonder at how priorities are established when so much being attempted to protect the back yard but so little to protect a very large number of vulnerable young females. Just perhaps, the potential taxation from the former would provide the means to achieve the latter?

    • Seeing as planning departments deal with planning issues and Social and Child services deal with those particular issues I would suggest there is no overlap of priorities and to attempt to some way link the two is poor form bordering on distasteful. Although I would expect no less from you Martin, its salacious bottom of the barrel stuff not worthy of on going discussion in this or any other forum.

  6. Oh, I didn’t understand crembrule that taxation doesn’t pay for both. Silly me.

    Perhaps you might do better to engage with those who know nothing about fracking, or are undecided. I have. When they see the comments from those around Rotherham, they (almost without exception) ask the same question. Bit inconvenient for the antis, a lot of things are, but they will still remain subject to discussion however much you try and control the discussion. That, in itself, was the biggest part of the problem in Rotherham.

    • Martin, weasel words I am afraid. Why can you not just accept that it was unnecessary to link the two issues, they are completely unrelated no matter how much twisting you do. Other issues affect taxation and fund raising for Local Authorities but you aren’t rushing to link them but you are happy to try and link a scandalous Social issue with an unrelated planning decision to in some way make the latter appear contributory to the former.

  7. My link is what local populations will protest and be active against, crembrule. That is a clear relationship.

    I used to stay in Rotherham regularly due to where it is situated in terms of motorway network, and it also provided a supermarket fuel station a short distance off the motorway so I could top up without paying a motorway premium. I apologise for any residents who think highly of the place, but it is shabby and in desperate need of investment. (Perhaps an INEOS car factory?)

    My point about taxation is that generation of wealth is the best way to achieve adequate taxation for funding all Government expenditure. Taxation of wealth is a nonsense put out by silly politicians, or politicians who are not so silly but believe we are useful idiots.
    Those who have the wealth already can relocate, or relocate their wealth.

    That’s the trouble with us reactionaries, as you term us Crembrule. we have seen both and know which works. Why do you think we heard from the Shadow Chancellor they were investigating how to prevent a run on Sterling and Capital flight-but we never heard the solution! There never was, and in today’s global world there certainly isn’t. Even if DA did the maths.
    And strangely, my kids and many others in that age group are against the borrowing route, as they already see there will be no retirement for them in good health due to previous levels of borrowing.

  8. These are completely different arguments to the one attempting to the link the Councils priorities with regard to fracking/unconventional gas exploration planning issues and the child abuse scandal. Just withdraw your initial statement rather than trying to drop your shoulder, it was a poorly judged comment and you would do yourself more credit admitting that you were wrong to attempt to draw any correlation rather than trying to bluster your way out of a corner.

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