Regulation

INEOS legal case against National Trust takes another step forward

Clumber ParkNottinghamshire

Clumber Park Nottinghamshire. Photo: Richard Watson

The UK’s biggest shale gas company is expected to issue court documents in the next few days in its legal challenge against the National Trust over access to Clumber Park in Nottinghamshire.

INEOS Upstream wants to carry out surveys for shale gas in the Grade 1 historic park. But the National Trust has refused access. It said INEOS had not demonstrated why the surveys were necessary.

In February, the Oil and Gas Authority, acting for the government, granted permission to INEOS to bring its case against the Trust.

The company was at the High Court this afternoon for a hearing to make arrangements for the challenge – the first of its kind for nearly 40 years.

INEOS said a letter and court papers would be sent by the end of next week to anyone with an interest in the land at Clumber Park.

The company has committed to carry out 100km of 2D seismic surveys and 100km2 of 3D surveys as a condition of its petroleum exploration licence (PEDL) that includes Clumber Park. The survey will help INEOS decide where to drill and frack for shale gas.

PEDL308 workprogramme

Extract from licence for PEDL308, which includes Clumber Park

INEOS said previously that the seismic surveys were not intrusive and represented no threat to the park. The survey was in the national interest and, in refusing access, the National Trust had behaved unreasonably, INEOS has said.

The National Trust has said INEOS had “not yet followed the proper planning process, which would involve them fully considering the potential environmental impacts”. The Trust also said it had no wish for its land to “play any part in extracting gas or oil”.

Today’s hearing was told that Clumber Park made up only about 15% of the PEDL. But INEOS’s barrister, James Hanham, said access was needed to avoid inaccuracies in the survey.

INEOS is bringing the case under the Mines (Working Facilities and Support) Act 1966. This allows courts to allow access to other people’s land to search for or extract oil and gas if it is “expedient in the national interest” and it is not “reasonably practicable to obtain the right my private arrangement”.

INEOS told the court it had identified anyone with an interest in the land within Clumber Park, such as tenants, property owners and licencees. As well as the National Trust, this includes the Caravan Club, an electricity substation and trustees of a cricket club, the court heard.

Mr Hanham said INEOS proposed to write informing the people on the list about the case and the right to object.

He said participants in the case should be limited to people with a direct interest in the land. Chief Master Matthew Marsh, the senior court officer at today’s hearing, agreed:

“Just because it is expedient in the national interest, the whole nation does not have a right to comment.

“This is a localised interest in the land.”

The deadline to submit objections is 8 June 2018. There will be a further hearing on 13 July 2018 to decide which people who have objected will be allowed to participate in the case.

Chief Master Marsh rejected INEOS plans to install notices about the challenge on posts around Clumber Park. He also said it was not necessary to advertise in a local newspaper.

INEOS agreed to put most of the court papers on a dedicated website, to which only the people contacted by the company would have access.

Chief Master Marsh said the case should be classed as a category A – one of great substance or difficulty or of public importance. It would be decided by a High Court Judge, he said, at a hearing at which witnesses were likely to be called to give evidence and to be cross-examined.

Representatives of the National Trust and the Oil & Gas Authority did not take part in today’s hearing.

  • INEOS is challenging Rotherham Borough Council at a public inquiry starting on 24 April over the non-determination of its application for shale gas drilling at a site at Harthill. The company will also be challenging Derbyshire County Council in June for the same reason over an application at Marsh Lane. Two campaigners are seeking to go to the Court of Appeal over INEOS’s injunction against anti-fracking protests.

Reporting at today’s hearing was made possible by individual donations to DrillOrDrop

34 replies »

  1. Just watched:

    The true cost of Green energy Dispatches on Channel 4

    Very informative program showing burning Biomass, wood pellets from America gives off MORE CO2 than burning coal!

    U.K Green subsidies are causing great swathes of forests in North America to be devastated and its wildlife destroyed so it can be shipped across the Atlantic and burnt in Drax Yorkshire costing the taxpayers hundreds of millions of pounds and increasing CO2 emissions! All started by a Labour Government then carried on by a Conservative Government…

    Let’s stop this abomination now, watch the program on catch up if you haven’t already seen it…

    • It will be interesting to see what Ineos say when they are asked why the surveys are necessary.

      Presumably they will have to answer it is to establish the presence of oil and gas.

      Once that is stated they will be asked if they intend to extract those minerals.

      If the answer is yes then Ineos can explain why extracting a new dirty fossil fuel as feed stock for a plastic industry is of National Importance.

      I can see why clean renewable energy projects are of National Importance but another new fossil fuel when the world is awash with fossil fuels doesn’t sound important at all.

      There is obviously a need for plastic but there are hundreds of thousands of products we have a need for. That doesn’t make them all of National Importance.

      I do not see any harm or loss coming to the Nation if Ineos are denied access to the park

      What does surprise me is that Ineos are prepared to see their name in the press trying to force their way onto National Trust land.

      It will do Ineos no favours and can only increase resistance to the industry

      • your Argument is with the Government . not Ineos after all who sold them the licence to explore for oil & gas i the first place. ?

      • John
        The seismic testing is to determine the best place to drill and extract.
        The gas ( not oil ) is there, but how much and it’s exact constituents, plus ease of fracking will not be known until drilled and fracked.
        So, their case will rest on the sale of a PEDL for the exploration and extraction of hydrocarbons, and why under clumber I expect.

        • The details of a PEDL award make it clear that they come with no guarantee that you can have planning permission or legal access rights.

          If that is Ineos’s case I can’t see it getting very far.

          • John

            Yes, you certainly need planning permission and legal access rights, but the case for Seismic access ( not planning ), where rejected, can rest on national significance.

            As they have been sold the licence, then they could argue that it is of national significance, which is a test for the government not the company. No doubt we shall see as the case progresses.

    • A little off-topic, but the Dispatches programme, on one of the most controversial sources of “renewable” energy is now available to view at: http://www.channel4.com/programmes/dispatches/on-demand/66548-004 (you may need to turn on Flash Player to watch it).

      There are perhaps some parallels to be drawn between wood pellets and shale – both appear on the surface to offer a fix to the problem of how we continue our comfortable lives unaffected, while decreasing our greenhouse gas emissions. But dig a little deeper, and maybe things don’t appear quite so simple.

  2. This has already been voted on in the commons and shale exploration has no place in National parks or areas of natural beauty etc…

    Conservative Claire Perry The Minister of State, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

    Claire Perry voted for greater restrictions on hydraulic fracturing (fracking) to extract shale gas in National Parks, the Broads, areas of outstanding natural beauty, World Heritage sites, and near points where water is abstracted for domestic and food production purposes.
    A majority of MPs voted the same.

    Let’s hope this fella doesn’t get in
    Jeremy Corbyn
    Leader of Her Majesty’s Official Opposition

    Jeremy Corbyn voted against greater restrictions on hydraulic fracturing (fracking) to extract shale gas in National Parks, the Broads, areas of outstanding natural beauty, World Heritage sites, and near points where water is abstracted for domestic and food production purposes.

    • In fact Labour is commited to ending ALL unconventional hydrocarbon extraction in the UK here’s one of their front benchers at a Surrey AONB threatened by the Tory policy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ukjF2zejSfg
      100% economic recovery of onshore oil and gas is the Conservative party’s policy.
      So if you want to protect the National Trust and our Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty you will need to vote Corbyn.
      Not exactly controversial either since we are committed to the Paris Agreement.

      [Typos edited by moderator at poster’s request]

      • Dorian
        You can vote Green or Lib Dem for the same outcome re Hydrocarbon exploitation I guess, not just for the Labour Party ( I say Labour Party as we do not have a say on who is PM when voting ).

      • The Labour Party issued the exploratory drilling licences to start shale gas UK in 2008. The Labour Party also started the Biomass industry in the UK (Dispatches – “The true cost of Green energy” channel 4 on catch up)

        How can you possibly trust The Labour Party to stop the shale gas industry in the UK, they started it!

        Just for the record as well as JC voting against restrictions on fracking…

        Tom Watson Deputy leader of the Labour Party

        Tom Watson voted against greater restrictions on hydraulic fracturing (fracking) to extract shale gas in National Parks, the Broads, areas of outstanding natural beauty, World Heritage sites, and near points where water is abstracted for domestic and food production purposes.

        Rebecca Long-Bailey
        Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

        Rebecca Long-Bailey voted against greater restrictions on hydraulic fracturing (fracking) to extract shale gas in National Parks, the Broads, areas of outstanding natural beauty, World Heritage sites, and near points where water is abstracted for domestic and food production purposes.

        Diane Abbott
        Shadow Home Secretary

        Diane Abbott voted against greater restrictions on hydraulic fracturing (fracking) to extract shale gas in National Parks, the Broads, areas of outstanding natural beauty, World Heritage sites, and near points where water is abstracted for domestic and food production purposes.

        It’s what they vote on in The House Commons that matters not on tv programmes etc…

        • Dear Kisheny,

          You say that all these Labour MPs voted “against greater restrictions on hydraulic fracturing (fracking) to extract shale gas in National Parks, the Broads, areas of outstanding natural beauty, World Heritage sites, and near points where water is abstracted for domestic and food production purposes”.

          Are the greater restrictions you refer to the 200m “additional protection zone”?

          In fact the Bill had included an outright ban on fracking in national parks, sites of special scientific interest and areas of outstanding natural beauty (and also, amongst other restrictions, at depths of less then 1000 metres nationally). The amendment that they voted against replaces this outright ban on drilling with a restriction on drilling above the depth of 1200 meters in these protected areas.

          As the drill depth will be in the region of 3,500m anyway do you wonder why they voted against a 200m “additional protection zone” instead of the previously agreed outright ban?

          New Labour introduced these licenses but as the UK is now legally obliged by the Paris Agreement to take steps to limit climate change (and only have the ‘Carbon Overhead’ to burn 20% of the deposits already identified) the investors posting here would be wise to take heed of the warnings in the video I linked to so that they don’t lose their money.

          Good luck,
          Dorkinian

          • Whether you say New Labour, old Labour, left Labour, central Labour it is still the Labour Party who started shale gas in the U.K…

            When The Labour Party started this industry they should have implemented the policy it wanted to proceed with. They did not restrict exploratory drilling or extraction in National Parks.

            The Conservative Party brought in greater restrictions with this bill, a lot of Labour MPs voted against greater restriction? Why? What would they have to gain by this? Is it because they had started the industry and didn’t want these restrictions?

            By saying It’s not the bill the Labour Party wanted to vote on, well they had the chance when they were in power and issued the exploratory drilling licences in the first place…

  3. I think the subject in hand takes priority in UK on this post kish

    Apologies for cutting and pasting part of the text above Ruth.

    “The deadline to submit objections is 8 June 2018. There will be a further hearing on 13 July 2018 to decide which people who have objected will be allowed to participate in the case.”

    That date will be important to all National Trust members.

    “Chief Master Marsh rejected INEOS plans to install notices about the challenge on posts around Clumber Park. He also said it was not necessary to advertise in a local newspaper.”

    Why would Ineos want to post such notices of the challenge? I am not surprised Chief Master Marsh rejected it, it is almost tantamount to intimidation?

    “INEOS agreed to put most of the court papers on a dedicated website, to which only the people contacted by the company would have access.”

    What? Why this secrecy again? That is just paranoid to the point of obsession? I bet they would want all sorts of personal details to get access, just like they did before to intimidate and disincline people to so much as inquire what the conditions are? Outrageous!

    “Chief Master Marsh said the case should be classed as a category A – one of great substance or difficulty or of public importance. It would be decided by a High Court Judge, he said, at a hearing at which witnesses were likely to be called to give evidence and to be cross-examined.”

    Clearly this is of great import, since it will set a precedent in law and as such must not be allowed to succeed.

    4 million members, its going to be interesting what the National Trust will have to say about this.

  4. Sorry Phil C the channel 4 program on the true cost of Green energy had just finished and I thought it was very important to bring it to the fellow posters attention. This site is based on the UKs CO2 emissions with regard to burning fossil fuels.

    I posted a comment with direct regard to the issue at hand immediately after that post mentioned.

    Phil did you manage to catch the program and if not will be available on catch up soon. If so what are your views?

    • I don’t have a television Kish, I gave it a miss about four years ago now. I can pick it up on channel 4 on catch up though, thanks, I’ll watch it then.

      I think there are a lot of issues that need attention as you say.

      I had this notion once we were making the world better for our children and theirs? Now I think we are only just beginning to understand just how badly we are messing it up?

      Maybe this crisis stage is part of the inevitable realisation that we are fundamentally misunderstanding our individual responsibility for the present mess?

      That actually is a good thing, because it shows that we are waking up to the fact that we are living on a limited fragile planet and there is no back up planet B ?

      We may not agree on some of the priorities but we both know it is urgent. And as long as we work in the same rough direction, we will get there.

      Someone said with big problems, you take small steps, one at a time.

      I think that the National Trust/Ineos issue is such a small and necessary step towards a better future? The wood chip issue another, and so on.

  5. “Ineos is bringing the case under the Mines (Working Facilities and Support) Act 1966. This allows courts to allow access to other people’s land to search for or extract oil and gas if it is “expedient in the national interest.”
    Chief Master Matthew Marsh-Senior Court Officer said ” Just because it is expedient in the national interest, the whole nation does not have the right to comment.”
    Where and when exactly was it established that Ineos fracking for gas from which to produce plastic is “expedient in the national interest?”

      • Gasman

        Polyethylene the most common polymer/plastic is produced by polymerisation of Ethylene using a Titanium chloride or Chromium oxide catalyst.

        Ethylene is produced by the steam cracking of an Ethane and Propane mixture.

        Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) the 4th most produced polymer/plastic (Polyethylene 1st, Polypropylene 2nd, Polyvinyl chloride 3rd) which is used to produce the Polyester family of fibres for clothing, plastic pellets for the manufacture of drinks bottles and food containers, thermoforming plastics and for combination with glass fibre for engineering resins.
        Is produced by reacting Ethylene with Terephthalic acid.

        The Terephthalic acid is produced by the oxidation and reaction between Acetic acid and Paraxylene (p-Xylene) using a Bromine catalyst.

        Acetic acid is produced by carbonylation (reacting with Carbon monoxide) of Methanol.

        Methanol is produced by reacting Carbon monoxide with Hydrogen.

        Both Carbon monoxide and Hydrogen are produced by the steam reforming of Methane.

    • How is money created out of thin air?
      Magic!
      The real question is, where does everything come from in the first place? And why?

    • Daniel
      The puff piece about plastic comes up regularly.
      I am not sure why, as a lack of Ethane will not lead to an absence of INEOS should there be plenty of gas to make its extraction economic.
      It may ( or does ) give a false hope to some that INEOS is only in the game for the plastic.

      • I think it is fair to say that Ineos have a better chance of success than the others because they will likely have access to some ethane. in the absence of ethane they would have the same problems as the others. The figures for abstraction costs quoted by experts including Centrica show UK shale methane to be to expensive to be profitable.

        • John
          Yes, if there is a good % of Ethane in the gas, and the economics of extraction work, it would make the financial case better. How they would capture the Ethane and then pop the rest intomtje grid would be interesting.
          I expect it would need a large extraction plant, or one at each pad, with Ethane tanketed off to wherever they need it.

      • Puff piece…..methane…..Ha! Ha! Never mind the accidental verbal irony is not wasted on some of us anyway?

        “I am not sure why, as a lack of Ethane will not lead to an absence of INEOS”

        Interesting remark? Would however, an absence of Ineos mean an absence of ethane?

        Ahhh, No!

        So it does actually appear that Ineos is indeed partly dependent upon ethane, because ethane is most assuredly not in the least dependent upon Ineos? Otherwise why would the one be associated with the other in any way at all?

        So Ineos may continue, but one would surmise in a somewhat reduced state, and not in Grangemouth? A bad thing? Ask the Grangemouthians?

        Simple logic for simple frackers really isnt it?

        The Evil Umpire

  6. This is when the antis will realise that charities members are there to access cheaper tickets! Charities per se, have a particularly bad recent history with their management abilities, and the NT themselves have been exposed several times within the last 6 months for fitting into that category.

    Clumber Park, and the surrounding area has been surveyed seismically for the coal industry over past years and it has represented no problems to land owners, in fact some have commented to me they found the process interesting rather than intrusive, and water pipes survived.

    INEOS have made it quite clear they have no need to frack from within Clumber Park. Reports indicate the NT would not discuss with INEOS, yet they are stating INEOS have no demonstrated why they need to include Clumber Park within their survey!

    Someone is on a hiding to nothing, and it doesn’t look like INEOS.

    • Ah, so we can add The National Trust to the growing list of the evil “enemies of the fracking (and associated avoidances of the word) empire”? Along with farmers, cyclists, protectors, wind generators, tidal generators, solar energy and just being a local resident, or a landowner, or a celebrity, or a water drinker, or an air breather, or in fact anyone at all who objects and stands up and says “No!”??
      4 million plus National Trust members and rising by the minute?

      • Phil
        For me as below

        Farmer ( tractor driver )
        Cyclist
        Local resident
        Landowner
        Water drinker
        Air breather
        NT member

        I say yes

        Soooo, just the celebrities ( or some ) and protestors evil enemies of fracking?

        • Yes what?

          Yes please?

          Or yes they are all evil NME’s?

          And what happened to wind generators, tidal generators, solar energy et al?

          New balls please!

          The Evil Umpire

  7. Who else Will these companies for shale gas threaten, so far it’s councilors farmers and anyone who dares to stand up to them it is tantamount to tyranny. Democracy is definitely dead in this country.

    • Yes Susan we all appear to be potential NME’s of the industry until proven “persons unknown” by injunction? And hence assumed to be guilty just by reason of objective existence?

      I wonder if, once this industry has finally made NME’s of everyone and everything just to get their own polluting way, that they will wake up to the fact that the entire planet opposes them and kicks them out into a less populated environment?

      That day may come sooner than they think?

  8. Susan-you have a strange way of defining democracy! It is the right of any person, or company, to challenge where they think an incorrect decision has been taken. Are the antis not challenging the INEOS injunction? If you find it “threatening” then I suggest you never take a look at the thousands of planning applications, and their process, that occurs every week of the year within the UK.

    Now, what is tyranny is a small group of activists who think they can break the law to deliberately obstruct a legal operation, which is not opposed by the majority.

  9. Martin I think you will find fracking is opposed by the majority. Those that have done their own research realise the horror that is coming if we let it.
    Daily mail reading sheep like youself are just asleep with heads rammed in the sand drinking the koolade and waiting to be saved. You are part of the problem sadly.

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