Regulation

Live news updates: Day 6 of inquiry into Ineos shale gas plans for Marsh Lane

180626 Marsh Lane10This post has live updates from Day 6 of the public inquiry into plans by Ineos for shale gas exploration in the Derbyshire village of Marsh Lane. Today’s session will hear more evidence in support from the company’s application.

Ineos is seeking to drill a 2.4km deep vertical coring well using a 60m rig on land off Bramleymoor Lane. The company appealed against what it said was an unacceptable delay to the decision on the application by Derbyshire County Council. The council voted by nine to one to oppose the application at the inquiry.

The hearing in Chesterfield, is expected to last until the end of this week. The first week heard evidence from Derbyshire County Council and Eckington Against Fracking.

Background post on the inquiry and catch up on news from each day through links on the DrillOrDrop  Marsh Lane inquiry page

Reporting from this inquiry has been made possible by individual donations from DrillOrDrop readers.


Key points from today’s hearing

  • Ineos witnesses give evidence
  • Health witness, Dr Andrew Buroni, says there are no health concerns with the Marsh Lane scheme
  • Nighttime noise would be reduced to 27db in homes with windows open and would not disturb sleep, Ineos witness tells the inquiry
  • Derbyshire County Council says preventing overnight drilling would prevent impacts of nighttime noise for nearby homes.
  • Ineos says there is no reason to refuse the Marsh Lane scheme on traffic grounds – the impact will be neutral
  • One section of the lorry route is 5.1m wide, too narrow for two HGVs to pass each other
  • The proposed lorry route already has heavy goods vehicles and the increase is not significant, Ineos traffic witness says.

5.30pm: Inquiry adjourns

The inquiry resumes at 9.30am tomorrow (Thursday 28 June 2018)

5.18pm: Ineos re-examination on traffic

Gordon Steele, barrister for Ineos, asks Kevin Martin, the company’s traffic witness about HGV movement figures.

Mr Martin says Eckington Against Fracking had identified 12 weeks of baseline traffic for each class of vehicle and compared it to five years of the development traffic. Mr Martin says this is meaningless.

3.51pm: Public questions on traffic

Don King

Differences on road widths

Don King, for Eckington Against Fracking, put it to Kevin Martin that the measures for the road widths were bound to be different because the two parties were measuring different points. Eckington Against Fracking was measuring white line to white line while Ineos was measuring tarmac to tarmac.

Mr King, who previously gave evidence to the inquiry, asks Mr Martin how Ineos measured widths of two sections of the lorry route. Mr Martin says he cannot answer this because he did not work on the environmental statement.

Mr King put it Mr Martin that the differences measured by Ineos and Eckington Against Fracking today were not significant, of the order of 0.2m.

Mr King asks what is the percentage difference between an actual measurement of 6.1m and an approximate 7.5m width claimed by Ineos. Mr King says the 7.5m figure was used in the application to demonstrate the route is safe. Mr Martin says he doesn’t know where the 7.5m width figure came from.

Articulated lorries

Don King, for Eckington Against Fracking, asks questions about classes of articulated lorries. Kevin Martin, for Ineos, says Mr King has placed put too much emphasis on a diagram showing classes of HGVs.

Mr King says the inspector will have to reach a conclusion on whether Ineos accurately estimated the current level of HGVs on the lorry route. He dismissed suggestions that Eckington Against Fracking had not compared current HGVs with predicted levels over different periods of time.

HGV movements

Don King, for Eckington Against Fracking, asks whether Ineos has abandoned the idea of convoys. Kevin Martin, for Ineos, says this would be discussed with the county council.

Mr Martin says the council offices were concerned about abnormal loads, rather than HGVs generally, in peak hours.

Mr Martin says the average number of HGVs is 21. The maximum number is 61 over a relatively short number of days, he says.

Mr Martin says there are still merits in two or three HGVs travelling together with an escort vehicle. But he says the traffic management plan is a flexible document, to be finalised with highway officials. He confirms there could also be individual HGVs.

The application statement that all HGVs would be brought in by an escort vehicle no longer applied, Mr King suggested. Mr Martin says the traffic management plan is a flexible document.

Averages

Mr King suggests that the average of 21 per day is not helpful. There could be 61 in one day. Mr Martin says this is a short duration and the increase is not significant.

Mr King suggests that Ineos first used peak figures against an enlarged existing baseline. When this was shown to be wrong, Ineos then relied on averages, Mr King suggests. Mr Martin rejects this.

Tracy Lund

Horse riders

Mr Martin is asked whether he is aware of horse-riding related activities. He says he is. Given the factual evidence of 300 horses in the area, Mr Martin is asked do you still agree that there is an adverse impact.

Mr Martin says the low levels of site traffic do not reach the threshold for amenity. He says the 61 HGVs per day figure is not an average. The average is 21. This is less than one HGV in each direction per hour.

Mr Martin says Ineos drivers will be instructed and advised about the equestrian activity.

Tracy Lund asks how many HGVs were on the Snowdon Lane bends. She says she has not seen HGVs on that section of the lorry route. Mr Martin says there were about 55 HGVs on Eckington Road as an average.

Ms Lund asks how many large HGVs were counted, Mr Martin says there were 14 on average a day. Ms Bund suggests they may not use the Snowdon Lane bends because they go to the garden centre and back the same way to the motorway.

Ms Lund asks whether the road is safe for horse riders. Mr Martin says there is always a level of conflict. There are existing HGVs and articulated lorries on this route, he says. The Ineos drivers will be instructed on how to respond if they meet a horse.

Ms Lund asks if the road on the Snowdon Lane bends for an HGV to pass a horse. Mr Martin says there is. He says an HGV driver would be advised to hold back if it could not overtake a group of horses.

Mr Martin accepts that a ditch alongside part of the route would prevent HGVs mounting the verge to overtake horses or other vehicles. Asked when horse riders should access the route, Mr Martin says he does not suggest any time. He recommends dialogue between Ineos and the equestrian community when booklets would be distributed..

Ms Lund asks when this dialogue would happen and could she have a copy of the booklet. Mr Martin says it would be part of the traffic management plan.

Andy Jones

Narrow sections of road

Andy Jones, a member of Eckington Against Fracking suggests there were other sections of narrow road on the lorry route. Mr Martin says no evidence has been given on this issue.

HGV lorries on the route today during a site visit were crossing the central white line. Mr Martin says he did not notice this.

Mr Jones says measurements should have been taken before the application was submitted. Mr  Martin says council offices and an independent consultant have concluded that the roads area adequate for HGVs.

Mr Jones suggests Mr Martin does not know what the road problems are. Mr Martin says his assessment is that the addition of development traffic is not significant.

Mr Jones asks Mr Martin how he judge the edge of a road, by the white line or the edge of the tarmac. Mr Martin says he would see the edge of the tarmac. Mr Jones suggests the white line had been put there by the highway authority to mark the edge of the road because there is no curb. Mr Martin disagrees.

Mr Martin says the roads are wide enough for two HGVs to pass each other and running onto verges is not likely to be an issue on the proposed lorry route.

Alternative routes

Mr Jones asks Mr Martin about alternatives routes. Mr Martin says Ineos and the council  have considered the alternative routes to be less suitable. They are more sensitive and involve longer sections through urban areas. Mr Jones suggests that Ineos have made these alternative routes look worse than they actually are.

Mr Martin says Eckington Against Fracking has not suggested an alternative route. Mr Jones says EAF is not suggesting anything. He says the alternatives have not been studied properly and this may suggested that the preferred route has not been looked at sufficiently. Mr Martin says the preferred route has been look at in more detail. Mr Jones suggest there has not been a fair comparison of routes.

Strategic highway

Mr Jones says sections of the strategic highway to be used by development traffic are among the most congested in the country. He asks whether Ineos has considered this. Mr Martin says the strategic highway is suited to development traffic.

Mr Jones asks again did Ineos consider whether use of the strategic highway met the Derbyshire local plan. Mr Martin says Derbyshire County Council found this section of the route on the strategic highway was perfectly suited to development traffic.

Mr Jones says there are three schools on this section of the route. Mr Jones says the use of the route will not improve the air quality.

Traffic volumes

Mr Jones asks why there would be one tanker daily to remove rainwater weekly during construction but only one a month during the maintenance period. Mr Martin says these are negligible traffic volumes.

Jeremy Kenyon

HGV passing on bends

Mr Kenyon puts it Mr Martin the adequate widths for two HGVs to pass is based on straight sections of road, rather than bends.

Mr Martin says he has taken account of bends. He says the bends on Snowdon Lane are more than 6m. 5.5m is enough on the straight for two HGVs to pass so the 6m width on the Snowdon bends will also be enough.

Mr Kenyon asks what width is needed for passing on bends. Mr Martin says he does not have this width.

Enforcement

Mr Martin says Ineos will take enforcement action against any contractors who do not follow the instructions. Mr Keynon suggests this may be too late. Mr Martin says the traffic management plan would be strengthened with the points raised at the inquiry.

Delays

Mr Kenyon suggests that drivers would become frustrated by being held up by HGVs waiting to overtake vulnerable road users. Mr Martin says a delay is a small price to pay.

Road surface

Mr Martin says a draft condition of any permission would require a survey before or after the development. Mr Kenyon recommends monitoring during the development.

“Russian Roulette”

Mr Kenyon suggested drivers would begin to avoid the route because they would’t know when they would be held up by lorries. He likened it to playing Russian roulette. Mr Martin says the construction phase with peak HGV use of 61 per day was for a short period of time.

3.35pm: More questions to Ineos traffic witness

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David Kesteven, of Eckington Against Fracking, questions the Ineos traffic witness, Kevin Martin.

Mr Kesteven asks Mr Martin about evidence to the Roseacre Wood inquiry. Mr Martin had said this was not applicable to the Marsh Lane inquiry because new passing places would be created at Roseacre. At Marsh Lane, the road width is satisfactory to allow two HGVs to pass.

Road widths

Mr Kesteven says there are still some disagrements between Ineos and Eckington Against Fracking about the road widths around Marsh Lane. Ineos measured from one edge of tarmac to the other. This morning, Ineos and Eckington Against Fracking had also measured the edge of the white line to the edge of the white line. Mr Martin said there was some big differences in the widths measured by Ineos and Eckington Against Fracking.

Mr Kesteven puts it to Mr Martin that there is a 20m pinch point where the width is 5.2m. Mr Martin agrees. He says HGVs would not be able to pass.

Ineos would be in total control of when HGVs come to the site, Mr Martin says. Ineos would ensure that its HGVs would ensure that its HGVs would not meet at this point. The drivers would be trained to approach the brow of the hill with caution.

Mr Kesteven says Ineos would not have control over existing HGV traffic. Mr Martin says Ineos drivers would be trained, instructed and advised about this area.

Eckington Against Fracking criticised the traffic counts correctly, Mr Martin says. But this was corrected in a review by AECOM.

3.21pm: Break

The inquiry resumes at 3.35pm.

3.11pm; Questions to Ineos traffic witness

Richard Kimblin, barrister for Derbyshire County Council, cross-examines Kevin Martin on his traffic witness.

Mr Martin concedes there are no footpaths or pavements on much of the lorry route around the Marsh Lane site.

Mr Kimblin puts it to Mr Martin that the roads are rural roads. Mr Martin agrees. They have relatively low levels of HGVs, Mr Kimblin says. It depends what you mean by relative and low, Mr Martin replies. He says HGVs do use the roads, including articulated vehicles.

Mr Kimblin says there is evidence of running on verges. Mr Martin says he has seen evidence in Coal Aston. But he says it is not clear what is the reason for the use of verges. He says traffic officers say the roads are wide enough for two HGVs to pass.

Mr Martin says there are an average of 21 HGVs per day or one in each direction per hour. “I consider this to be an acceptable level of additional traffic”, he says.

Mr Kimblin asks what would be the impact on people using the roads. Mr Martin says guidelines require there to be a doubling of traffic to indicate an impact on amenity for pedestrians.   He says the significance of the increase is slight and under the threshold for judging impact on amenity. Mr Kimblin asks about the significance of the guidelines. Mr Martin says they have been used for many years and he sees not reason not to use them.

2.46pm: Ineos evidence on traffic

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Kevin Martin, the Ineos traffic consultant, gives evidence transport issues.

Mr Martin says he analysed traffic numbers based on revised figures for heavy goods vehicles.

The significance for total site traffic was classed as neutral, he says. The predicted increases in HGVs was classed as satisfactory, he adds.

Mr Martin says he is surprised that the council opposed the development on traffic grounds. National Planning Policy Framework says schemes should be refused only on traffic grounds if the impact is severe. Mr Martin says he does not regard the impact on the highway network is likely to be severe. He adds that council officers and independent transport consultant agreed with that judgement

Mr Martin says there is no cumulative impact from the development. The residual impact is neutral because the traffic management methods are for only a few months,he says.

All the technical experts agree there is no reason to refuse on traffic grounds. Despite this, a sub committee of the council’s planning committee maintained this reason for refusal.

There are no reasons to refuse the application on traffic grounds, Mr Martin says.

Mr Martin tells the inquiry that sections of the road have been measured by the parties at the inquiry. He says measurements taken this morning had “broadly confirmed” what he had previously taken.

Mr Martin says two categories of articulated lorries had been omitted in the Ineos traffic count. He says this has since been corrected.

He says that Eckington Against Fracking had presented evidence to the inquiry based on news reports from the Roseacre Wood inquiry. In that case, passing places had been proposed in the Roseacre Wood inquiry. But the roads considered by the Marsh Lane inquiry were sufficiently wide not to need passing places.

2.39pm: Questions from the public on landscape

Paul Macrea, the Ineos landscape witness, is asked when would the drilling phase of the project would cease to become short-term for the rig. Mr Macrea says he would need to think about this, perhaps a year.

Mr Macrea says he would consider cumulative effects of projects over time and across the area. He is asked whether this should be considered for the first project. Mr Macrea says he can only assess what is being discussed in the application. He was asked if he would discuss independent projects. Mr Macrea said he would.

2.31pm: Questions from Eckington Against Fracking on landscape

David Kesteven, of Eckington Against Fracking, cross-examines Paul Macrea, the Ineos landscape witness.

Mr Kesteven puts it to Mr Macrea that application drawings have lighting and CCTV columns, to remain on site for the entire duration, measuring 9m tall. Mr Macrea said in his evidence there would be no large structures on the site for more than 4 1/2 years of the development.

Mr Kesteven asks if the site were not on a hill, what would be the impact on the wider landscape. Mr Macrea says the rig would be less visible. But he dismisses earlier suggestions of a hierarchy of Green Belt with Marsh Lane near the top.

The inquiry had heard that a previous application for a 15m mast had been refused because of the site’s prominent position. Mr Macrea agrees with the description of the site.

2.11pm: Council questions on Ineos landscape evidence

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Richard Kimblin, the barrister for Derbyshire County Council, questions the Ineos landscape witness, Paul Macrea, on the impact of the proposal on the Green Belt.

Mr Macrea says the site perimeter fencing would be visible from the three roads that surround the proposal.

He says Ineos has carried out an assessment of the development at all phases. He agrees with Mr Kimblin that the assessment mainly takes account of the rig and other equipment, the fencing, earth bunds, welfare facilities and access road.

Mr Kimblin suggests that a landscape assessment would look at the baseline, then the magnitude of change, likely effects and the duration of effects. Mr Macrea agrees.

Mr Macrea, in his assessment, says the effects will be substantial and localised. Mr Kimblin asks if localised is 3km. Mr Macrea says the extent of the effects is set out in the environmental report.

Encroachment on openness

Mr Macrea accepts the area is open countryside. Mr Kimblin asks whether it would be encroached on for the duration of the development. Mr Macrea says it depends on what you mean by encroachment. Mr Kimblin repeats the question.

Mr Macrea says if you replace one thing with another then it would mean encroachment. If you mean permanent encroachment then it would not.

2.03pm: Ineos evidence on landscape issues

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Paul Macrae, the company’s landscape witness gives evidence on the impact of the development.

He says the rig will be on site for three months. Other parts of the development will last for five years.

He says changes to the Green Belt will be limited in extent and duration. He says features of the landscape are not vulnerable to the development, he says.

He says the equipment will be uncharacteristic in the wooded slopes and valleys of the landscape but the tall structures will not be on site for the entire development.

The proposed development will not have a permanent impact on the landscape, he says.

Mr Macrae adds that there will no impact on visual amenity. He says it is not a valued landscape in the context of the National Planning Policy Framework. No people would have changes to their views that would be so unattractive that their homes would become unpleasant places to live.

Gordon Steele, the Ineos barrister, asks about the height of the fencing around the site. Mr Macrae says the security fencing is 2m high.

2pm: Inquiry resumes

1.07pm: Break

The inquiry resumes at 2pm.

1.02pm: Question from the public on permits

Luke Prazsky, Ineos permitting witness, is asked how it can be guaranteed that the water will not be contaminated. He says the design will not allow water to leave the site.

Mr Prazsky is asked how Ineos can safely drill through the water table when scientists have said they can’t do so safely. Mr Prazsky says this question should be put to a drilling engineer.

1pm: Questions from the inspector on permits

The inspector, Elizabeth Hill, asks the Ineos permitting witness about compliance over removal of waste to a suitable site. Luke Prazsky for Ineos says a check would be done on on the facility. It is the responsibility of the waste producer to declare the transfer and the facility that it agrees to accept the waste.

12.55pm: Cross-examination of Ineos permits witness

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David Kesteven, of Eckington Against Fracking, asks whether the permit prevents any point source emissions.

Luke Prazsky (above) says venting is a point source emission but it is not an intended emission. It is there for health and safety reasons and is not covered by the permit. He says venting the gas would be a breach of permit.

Mr Kesteven if the Environment Agency visited the site. Mr Prazsky says it is not normal practice to visit.

12.47pm: Ineos evidence on environmental permits

INEOS Bramleymoor Lane well

Luke Prazsky is a waste management consultant giving evidence on permits. He says the Environment Agency has granted a waste management permit. The company will submit notice of its drilling plans which will be covered by a standard rules permit.

Environmental monitoring will be carried out to establish if there are any impacts on groundwater, Mr Prazsky says. The company will also carry out post decommissioning monitoring, he says.

“It is my opinion that Ineos has the correct environmental permit for the development. It represents a very low impact on the environment throughout its lifetime”

12.25pm: Re-examination of Ineos noise witness

Gordon Steele, barrister for Ineos, asks Steve Fraser, the company’s noise witness, about the purpose of a noise limit. Mr Fraser says it is to protect the community against sleep disturbance or deprivation, he adds.

Mr Fraser says BS4142 ( guidance on assessing nighttime noise impacts) is not appropriate to assess impacts. He says mineral planning guidance advises that background noise is not a direct consideration at night and it does refer to background nighttime levels. He says the inspector at the Preston New Road inquiry said the Mineral Planning Guidance should be used, rather than BS4142.

The guidance seeks to reduce noise limits to a minimum to avoid unacceptable impacts without imposing unreasonable burdens on the operator.

Mr Fraser says unreasonable burdens could include impacts on the operation, safety, duration. He says a nighttime noise limit of 42db would be consistent with the guidance. To reduce the level further would represent an unreasonable burden. Mr Fraser agrees that cost could be an important element.

Indoor noise

Mr Fraser says a nighttime limit of 42db would be reduced by 15db (assuming windows were open) to 27db inside. Comparison with the background noise level would not be relevant, he says. 27db is below the World Health Organisation guidance on preventing sleep disturbance in bedrooms, Mr Fraser says.

Will that cause sleep deprivation, Mr Steele asks. Not according to WHO guidance, Mr Fraser says.

With windows closed, it would reduce the noise levels to significantly below 27, Mr Fraser adds.

Balancing national interest against community issues, the noise issue could be further reduced by closing a window, Mr Steele suggests. Mr Fraser says it is unreasonable to expect people to sleep with the windows closed.

Worst case scenario

Mr Fraser tells the inquiry the noise assessment has assumed worst-case. Be says the actual noise should be quieter than predicted. He adds that noise at some nearby properties could be quieter than predicted because they are single storey.

12.24pm: Public questions to Ineos on noise

Rachel Steele asks Steve Fraser what assessment has been made of additional traffic noise. Mr Fraser says standard methods have been use. The increase of development traffic is insignificant, Mr Fraser says.

12.14pm: Cross-examination of Ineos noise witness, Steve Fraser, by Eckington Against Fracking

David Kesteven, of Eckington Against Fracking, asks Mr Fraser about Ineos noise monitoring. He suggests there are errors in the way the noise monitoring was carried out. Mr Fraser says most of the guideline methodology was used in the noise monitoring for Marsh Lane. Mr Fraser agreed that

11.50am: Continued cross-examination of Ineos noise witness, Steve Fraser

Derbyshire County Council barrister, Richard Kimblin QC, continues his cross-examination of Steve Fraser, the company’s noise witness on minimising noise.

More on minimising noise

Mr Kimblin asks Mr Fraser whether the top drive of the rig is the dominant noise source. Mr Fraser says this is a relative minor part of the process and source of noise. He agrees the answer to the question is ‘no’.

Mr Kimblin asks whether there are other source of noise with a level within 10db of the top drive. Mr Fraser says there are other noise sources. The next loudest is the hydraulic power unit, Mr Fraser says.

Previous Ineos evidence had suggested mitigating noise from the top drive would be lengthen drilling and be expensive.

Mitigating noise of the top drive would reduce the overall noise, Mr Kimblin suggests. Mr Fraser agrees. Mr Kimblin suggests it would be an unreasonable burden to do more than than reducing noise of the top drive. Mr Fraser disagrees. Ineos has already asked its rig supplier to meet requirements at the edge of best practice. It would be difficult to retrofit noise mitigation, he adds.

Mr Kimblin puts it to Mr Fraser that Ineos’s case is that the rig procured would be as quiet as possible. He agrees.

Mr Fraser suggests that the choice of rig would be included in the noise reduction plan for the site. But he says he doesn’t know how a condition on rig selection would be drafted. He agrees that a condition should require plant to reduce noise to as low as practicable. But he adds this shouldn’t impose an unreasonable burden.

Common Road, Harthill

Mr Fraser gave evidence at the inquiry into Common Road at Harthill. He says the noise conditions at Common Road were not relevant to Marsh Lane.

Nighttime drilling

Mr Kimblin suggests that removing nighttime drilling would remove the noise impact at night. Mr Fraser agrees.

11.35am: Break

The inquiry resumes at 11.50am.

10.30am: Cross-examination of Steve Fraser by Derbyshire County Council

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Steve Fraser (left) and Richard Kimblin (right)

Richard Kimblin, for the council, asks Mr Fraser whether a nighttime noise limit of 35db was achievable.

Mr Fraser says it would not be impossible. He said Ineos had looked at the options to reduce noise levels. This resulted in a “fairly challenging specification” for procuring equipment.

Mr Fraser says there are limits to what can be achieved with short-term engineering solutions, such as screens or enclosing plant.

Planning practice guidance on nighttime noise

Mr Kimblin asks Mr Fraser whether Minerals Planning Practice Guidance has important guidance for planners on noise. Mr Fraser agrees.

Mr Kimblin says the council is not concerned about noise during the day or evening.

At night time, the guidance requires noise to be reduced to a minimum to avoid adverse impacts without imposing an unreasonable burden on an operator.

Mr Kimblin asks whether this means as low as reasonably practicable. Mr Fraser says:

“The lower the noise level the better. A level of 35 would be infinitely preferable to 42.”

Mr Kimblin repeats his question about whether a level under 42db can be reasonably achieved. Mr Fraser replies

“This is the heart of the matter, really”

Mr Kimblin asks what would be an acceptable effect on amenity. Mr Fraser says it is important to demonstrate there is no unacceptable impact of health. An aspect of this is the impact on amenity, he says. He says an example would be whether people had to raise their voices or turn their TVs up.

Mr Kimblin puts it to Mr Fraser that the first time Ineos has considered observed adverse effect levels of noise was in preparation for the appeal. Mr Fraser says he doubts this.

Mr Kimblin says the planning approach has been to assess if there will be a significant adverse effect. This could include diminished quality of life, problems getting to sleep or waking up because of noise.

World Health Organisation and British Standard guidance

Mr Kimblin raises the issue of British Standard BS4122, which Ineos and the council’s noise witnesses disagree over its relevance. Mr Fraser says it is used for a standard industrial noise.

Mr Kimblin puts it to Mr Fraser that the WHO nighttime noise guidelines provide guidance on effects and limits but not a method of assessing particularly circumstances. BS4142 provides a method to assess nighttime noise impacts.

Mr Fraser says WHO provides guidance is based on international experts.  BS4122 is based on custom and practice and does not have the same science behind its approach. He says the WHO guidelines do provide a method for the assessment of noise impacts.

Mr Kimblin puts it to Mr Fraser that BS4142 covers fixed industrial installations. Mr Fraser says he would consider these installations were air conditioning units. The equipment to be used at Marsh Lane would not count as fixed industrial installations because it is not long-term, he says. There is specific guidance for mineral planning, Mr Fraser adds.

Mr Kimblin asks how would the fact that this is not long-term in Ineos’s view affect the way noise was experienced by people living nearby. Mr Fraser says the three-month period of drilling would have a different impact on health than something drilling over a longer period.

Mr Kimblin asks whether Mr Fraser would object to the inspector using BS4142 results. It would be misguided, Mr Fraser says. What is wrong with doing the assessment and then taking into the account the period of time, Mr Kimblin asks. It is a matter of professional judgement, Mr Fraser says.

British Standard guidance on construction noise

Ineos has used this standard, BS 5228. Mr Fraser says it is an important consideration. The Marsh Lane project has similarities to a construction site, he says. There are many short-term operations, he says.

Mr Kimblin says the material that Mr Fraser relies on is in the annex to standard BS 5228. This does not include a method to assess the impact noise events against background noise, Mr Kimblin suggests. Mr Fraser says it provides a framework. Mr Kimblin asks Mr Fraser to show the inspector where this framework is. He is unable to do this.

Mr Kimblin says there is guidance on how to minimise noise from construction activities. Mr Fraser says it sets levels for noise for different operations.

Background noise

The nighttime noise from drilling at the Marsh Lane site is estimated to be 17-19db above the current background levels.

 

Mr Fraser says the site is in a quiet rural area. If the background noise had been higher then noise would be less of a consideration. It is relevant to the question of reasonable burden, he says.

Mr Kimblin asks whether the more tranquil the environment, the easier it is for the operator to show that mitigation measures would be an unreasonable burden. Mr Fraser disagrees. He says it makes it more important to show that everything has been done to reduce noise levels.

Mr Kimblin asks if 17-19db above background noise levels significant. Mr Fraser says they are substantial increases but in the context of a short-term operation they are not significant. Would it be likely to provoke complaints, Mr Kimblin asks. That is difficult to say, Mr Fraser says. Complaints are prompted by many considerations, he says.

Mr Kimblin asks Mr Fraser whether he believes the increase in noise level should be considered but they are not significant because of the duration of the drilling work. Mr Fraser says this simplifies his position. The impacts depend on the context.

Minimising noise

Not drilling at night would eliminate the substantial noise increase, Mr Kimblin suggests. Mr Fraser agrees.

Screening the top drive would substantially mitigate that effect, Mr Kimblin suggests.

Mr Fraser disagrees. We are looking at a “hugely quiet top drive” which already has some noise suppression. The approach adopted by Ineos for the installation is the best that can be reasonably accepted, Mr Fraser says.

 

10.20am: Steve Fraser gives evidence for Ineos

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Mr Fraser tells the inquiry he is an independent planning consultant. His evidence is on noise impacts.

He says there are reasons why the scheme would have any unacceptable noise impacts if it is implemented as planned.

He says noise levels at night should comply with World Health Organisation sleep disturbance guidelines. They should not exceed 42Db at a noise sensitive property, Mr Fraser says. This would provide reasonable protection, given the short period of drilling of three months, he says.

Ineos has confirmed noise is a key consideration in the criteria for selecting the rig and other equipment, he adds.

The operation from the rig is likely to be below the 42db at night.

This is the available method to protect health and wellbeing without imposing an unreasonable burden on the operator.

A further reduction in noise would compromise efficiency and would be an unreasonable burden on Ineos, Mr Fraser says.

He says there would not be an unacceptable impact on local amenity.

10.15am: Public questions for Duncan Russell

A member of the public asks Mr Russell whether is assessment is based on what is known today about the site. Mr Russell says there are extensive records of rainfall records.

Mr Russell is asked about long-term changes in understanding. He says the application is for five years and it was unlikely to change in that period. He says the principles behind the assessment go back hundreds of years. He says other witnesses would give evidence on the duration of the borehole, which will last longer than five years.

10.11am: Cross-examination of Duncan Russell by Eckington Against Fracking

David Kesteven, for Eckington Against Fracking, asks Mr Russell whether all water falling on the site would be tankered off. Mr Russell says some water falling on the site would evaporate before it reached the storage facilities.

Mr Russell says extreme rainfall events had been taken into account. The inquiry heard concerns about insufficient storage at the site.

Mr Russell says evidence from a member of the public had over-estimated likely rainfall collecting on the site.

Mr Kesteven drew attention to water collecting on the Preston New Road site near Blackpool. Mr Russell says the Marsh Lane site had been planned in accordance with all relevant regulations.

10.04am: Duncan Russell gives evidence for Ineos on water

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Mr Russell says he is a geologist and hydrogeologist specialising in water flows. He says he has reviewed the hydrology assessment and it is appropriate for the application.

He says no objections have been made by statutory consultees on the impact of the water environment. These include Derbyshire County Council or the Environment Agency.

Mr Russell says:

“The development has been designed with mitigation measures in mind to minimise to acceptable levels impacts on the water environment.

“The proposed development will not have significant effects on the water environment.

“There is no reason to refuse the application.”

Gordon Steele, barrister for Ineos, asked whether there was enough water storage on site. Mr Russell he was content about the level of water storage.

9.52am: Cross-examination of Dr Andrew Buroni by Eckington Against Fracking

Dr Buroni is asked about the precautionary approach. He says the potential hazards are well known and addressed by the permitting regime. He says he has no concerns about the health impacts from the Marsh Lane proposals.

David Kesteven, for Eckington Against Fracking, asks whether Dr Buroni has heard about reports by the Concerned Medical Professionals of New York. He says this applies to a different regime in a different county. He is asked about the Public Health England. He says he thinks this dates back to 2015. He says it is always being reviewed.

Mr Kesteven asks whether Dr Buroni is aware of any health impact assessment of the shale gas industry. He says this is a big question. He says the Environmental Impact Assessment regulations require a review of health impacts for projects that require an EIA.

Dr Buroni is asked whether a health impact assessment and health baseline study should be carried out now for the Marsh Lane scheme. He says health is related to noise, traffic and air quality and all are assessed separately and well-addressed in the application. A separate health assessment would not needed for this project, he says. If there were any health issues they would have been raised by the regulators, such as Public Health England and the Health and Safety Executive.

There is a proportionate health assessment in the environmental report of the application, Dr Buroni says.

“There is no gap. A permit has been granted on the basis that the Environment Agency has no concerns. If you have a concern that hasn’t been addressed, please tell me.”

Mr Kesteven says the List of the Harmed, an American document recommends baseline studies. Dr Buroni says this deals with the result of US processes with different regulations.

9.45am: Dr Andrew Buroni gives evidence for Ineos

180627 Marsh Lane3

Dr Buroni says he has reviewed the Ineos environmental reports and it is a comprehensive review of any health and environmental impacts.

He says statutory consultees had not objected to the health impacts of the Marsh Lane scheme.

He is asked what weight should be given to the Environment Agency’s issuing of an environmental permit for Marsh Lane. Mr Buroni says this is the most weight you could get.


9.35am: Public statements

To be updated

9.30am: Inquiry opens


4 replies »

  1. “The precautionary approach” hmm let’s just think about this term for a moment….. and now let us get back to the real world of booming population growth and absolutely zero barmy ‘green’ policies being implemented across approx 95% of the rest of the world.
    Imagine these ******** actually had any real ‘weight’ behind them… a scary thought.
    The UK is in a very serious position at the moment, consumer credit bursting, no proper economic policy, dwindling investment, loss of credibility in terms of stature, meanwhile I’m having to read about Ms Bloggs being inconvenienced by having to look both left and right to check there isn’t an hgv coming along the road!

  2. The majority of us wouldn’t be here if the precautionary approach had been adhered to. That should get a few responses!

    Too much Green time in Brussels. I dealt with Brussels in terms of product clearance and the precautionary approach was a con simply to delay progress, usually so a deal could be done between countries on something totally unassociated to remove the jam. It could go on for years, and did, and it was shocking to see how new countries joining the EU used it immediately making the result even worse.

    Joy. We will soon have those MEPs back in UK looking for jobs!

  3. “Imagine these ******** actually had any real ‘weight’ behind them… a scary thought.”

    Be scared, be very scared.

  4. Also recall that the precautionary approach must be approached in a 360 degree fashion. In other words, we need to ask what would the consequences be of not taking the action as well as taking the action.

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