IGas planning appeal over Ellesmere Port refusal “a waste of public money”, say campaign groups

Ellesmere Port Portside well site

Location (in red) of the IGas Ellesmere Port site. Soutce: IGas

The exploration company, IGas, has been accused of wasting public money by appealing against the refusal of planning permission to test its well at Ellesmere Port.

Cheshire West and Chester councillors rejected the proposal in January, against the advice of planning officers. The council’s planning committee said the scheme did not comply with local policy because it failed to address climate change or support renewable energy (DrillOrDrop report).

After the decision, IGas’s chief operating officer, John Blaymires, said the company was very disappointed and argued that the scheme did meet national and local planning policy.

Last month, the company said in its annual accounts “It is our intention to appeal” (DrillOrDrop report).

The company has six months to lodge its case with the Planning Inspectorate and confirmed last week that this has not yet happened.

“Reckless endeavour”

The local campaign group, Ellesmere Port Frack Free, said the cross–party response on Cheshire West and Chester Council to the testing plan had been “withering”. The group said:

“IGas seems intent on wasting more time and resource on this reckless endeavour.”

It added:

“On all the key concerns expressed by the residents of Ellesmere Port, Planning Inspectors have upheld the decisions of Planning Committees elsewhere in the country, so it is highly likely they will do the same for this appeal.

“Sadly this will impose another large waste of public money on the Cheshire tax and rate payer.”

180125 CWAC march Helen Rimmer3

Opponents of IGas plans outside Cheshire West and Chester Council in January 2018. Photo: Helen Rimmer, Friends of the Earth

The group accused IGas of wasting £300,000 of public money on policing and court costs to evict an anti-fracking protest camp at a prospective drilling site at Upton, near Chester, in January 2016.  Less than a month later, the company announced it had decided not drill there.

At the time, the company said information from a geological survey conducted between September and November 2015 had not been available when the decision to evict the camp was made.

Ellesmere Port Frack Free said:

“It is a real shame that private companies can waste such huge amounts of public money with so little accountability. If they were charged for the public services that they consume (as the Localism Act 2015 suggests), they would be far less likely to act in this irresponsible manner trying to impose something on the public that the public does not want.”

In the application to drill the Ellesmere Port well, IGas had said it was targeting coal bed methane. But the formation that IGas now wants to test is the deeper Pentre Chert.

Jim Cameron, of Frack Free Upton, said:

“This is the equivalent of erecting a tower block where there is planning approval only for a detached house.”

In a statement Cheshire anti-fracking groups said they had  already assembled what they described as a team of national and international experts in the expectation that IGas would appeal.

“They are prepared to testify to the foolishness of this proposal”, the statement said, adding:

“There are also sufficient errors in the application to date, to warrant a Judicial Review should one be required.”

DrillOrDrop invited IGas to respond to the criticism. A spokesperson said:

“Prior to an appeal actually being submitted, it would be inappropriate for us to comment at this time.”



16 replies »

  1. Thank you Ruth,

    This confirms the one simple basic and only truth in this entire fracking fiasco.

    That there always was only one rule.

    And that is that the tax payer pays and pays and pays, first and foremost and in every way, no matter what.

    The governments have always known that, and so do all the offshore tax haven based parasites of corporate operators.

    Time to end this utter fracking farce of a lie.

    The word fracking is of course used interchangeably either as an expletive or as a noun.

    I don’t care what other lies obscure the term.

    Make up your own mind which you prefer. I all ready have, guess?

  2. So a planning application is turned down AGAINST the recommendations of the planning department?

    And the company want to appeal against that illegal decision? Why is this news?

    Roll on the day when this type of activity becomes ‘permitted development’ to stop the ill informed obstructions by people with no specialist knowledge.

    Maybe the do want to test the shale? So what? Fracking in shale has a 100% safety record after 2.5 million jobs and 100,000 wells in the US and has transformed their energy market. Or maybe its better to import, costing us £50 million a day? All yje protests are of course informed by Russian sponsored fake science, as identified here.

    Click to access 06_29_2017%20CLS%20%26%20Weber%20-%20Mnuchin.pdf

    • So says your ideology Johnson. Your link is of hardly any substance, it is a letter consisting of a request that the allegations mentioned be investigated, not a statement substantiating those allegations.

    • Oh dear oh dear, poor Boris Not Godunov?

      Again and again, out Trotsky’s the potty Putin propaganda Russian scary boogie woogie man. That is just roundly discredited rubbish and only used to prop and bolster up an otherwise baseless and boring rant?

      Here is Michael Shrimptons view on the origin and perpetrator of the novichok agent used against the Skripals and who did perpetrate that insane crime against humanity and why. Michael Shrimpton also says who was responsible for the chemical weapon used on the Syrian people.
      It is clear we are under a massive disinformation campaign, no doubt sparked by the need to have a big bad Russian bear to wave our stick at and pretend our corporate big brother high jacked government is not the international laughing stock that it is.

      ( )

      Try to use your own god given intelligence, rather than the proffered profane and insane secret variety.

      Employ! Employ!

  3. “Illegal decision”????? So we have a judge do we sitting on the comments page. What is illegal, Judge Johnson, about elected councillors discharging their own duty to make their own minds up.

  4. If they have made their own minds up Ian, in accordance with the regulations and laws set, no problem. If they haven’t-and as the Planning Officers recommended approval, that is very likely-they will be responsible for the costs. Quite simple, councillors with this sort of responsibility can not just follow their “own minds”. There is no such thing as UDI for such decisions, and the recent spate of them where the decision is made without any clarity for the reasons for that decision and then a cobbled together attempt after the meeting in “justification” will be challenged. It will probably take a large award of costs to rectify this situation, and then such matters will be taken out of the hands of local councillors to stop further waste of public money.

    • Some facts showing refusal of costs after recommendation of approval by the officer and then Councillors making up their own minds and refusing the application.

      Cuadrilla Planning Application LCC/2014/0084

      Click to access Appendix%20C.pdf

      The Appeal was upheld but the facts that costs were refused proves the Councillors were justified in disagreeing with the planning officer.

      ‘that is very likely-they will be responsible for the costs’ is incorrect based on this evidence.

      If Councillors put forward valid material reasons contesting the officers ‘it is therefore considered’ or ‘ it can be mitigated’ then costs will not be awarded as was in this case.

      We will be seeing plenty of cases where the developer does not get costs awarded.

      Judging by the financial health of many developers these costs may be to great.

      • Keep your eye out for this in the future (see my above post)

        “The Committee’s decision was not so unreasonable as to be “Wednesbury” unreasonable in that it was not so unreasonable that no reasonable authority would have come to this decision”

        “Wednesbury” could be a costly word for cash strapped shale developers.

  5. Sorry John-every case is individual, so simply referencing another case is just that-another case. The “evidence” you refer to is not evidence for this situation at all. Good try, but no cigar.

    • So, you have no idea how the judicial system works then, Martin?
      ‘so simply referencing another case is just that-another case’ – Look up ‘precedents’….

      • I think martin does not like our local planning authorities very much? And never invites them to dinner?

        Apparently he would rather avoid the prospect of local people actually having a say on whether they are poisoned or not by private offshore tax haven based corporate invaders?

        Obviously he would rather deny anyone local from actually having any self determination and would much rather that such exclusively private profit and loss issues were decided arbitrarily by our own, our very own, totally “sane” Tory party and DUP coalition? Round of appalls please? A bit like attributing the term “taster” to a vampire? Nurse! The screams!

        I use the word “sane” in it’s strictly DUP influenced right wing extremist tory party meaning of the word?

        You know the one that is attempting to plunge the world into another toxic nerve agency cold war to bolster it’s failing right wing support agenda?

        That will go well for the local residents, won’t it?

  6. Lol sorry are the antis that dim to expect stupid headlines like that to have any effect on the normal citizens of the UK.
    Pathetic councilors that have no formal planning background went against the professional planners to keep their bums in a cosy little seat.
    This will get passed no probs.

    • We have enjoyed the previous record of such predictions before peeny/GBH? We like the hissing sound they make as they evaporate into the empty meaningless American rhetoric they came from?

  7. I thought we were talking about a planning application, Sherwulfe! Sorry to disappoint you but that is not a court. A little more research to be done on how things work in the UK. One planning application may be turned down for ecological reasons and be valid, it certainly doesn’t mean the next one will be, even though the same reasons may be claimed.

    Too much RT again. Talk about something totally disconnected and pretend it is the same, because nobody will know differently LOL. Still no cigar.

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