Woodsetts villagers celebrate second refusal of Ineos shale gas plans

180907 Woodsetts DoD4

Woodsetts residents cheered outside Rotherham Town Hall this lunchtime after the council’s second vote against Ineos shale gas plans for their village.

A meeting of Rotherham planning board refused the application for a vertical coring well by seven votes to five. DrillOrDrop live news updates from the meeting

This was much closer than the previous unanimous refusal in March this year. But it didn’t stop the celebrations.

There were shouts of “Absolutely brilliant”, “Rotherham Council rocks” and “Well done Rotherham”.

Ineos had urged the council to approve the application to avoid the costs of an appeal. The third public inquiry into shale gas plans in the East Midlands now looks likely, following the company’s appeals on sites at Harthill and Marsh Lane.

A spokesperson for the company said:

We are disappointed at the decision by Woodsetts Planning Committee. Our proposal was for a small core well just 10cm wide, hundreds of which have previously been approved and safely drilled. We look forward with interest to reading the committee’s reasons for their decision.

Residents had been cautious about the outcome of today’s meeting after planning officers recommended the application should be approved.

Several members of the planning board supported the officers’ conclusion that there were no planning reasons to refuse the application.

But Woodsetts Against Fracking put forward six grounds and said it had a barrister ready to fight a public inquiry if Ineos appealed. One of the key concerns was the proximity of the site entrance and access track to homes of elderly and vulnerable people. The site bellmouth was described as within “coughing distance” of the sheltered housing.

In a formal statement after the vote, the group said:

“We are elated by today’s decision and grateful to those councillors who were able to identify the genuine planning problems associated with this application.

“Rather than address our concerns and the reasons for refusal of the first application, Ineos chose to use the threat of seeking costs from RMBC [Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council] if they were forced to go to inquiry. Thankfully, a majority of the planning board saw through this attempt at bullying them into approving the application.

“WAF have always maintained that there are material planning differences between this application and the one that was approved at Harthill. In particular the location of the access track so close to sheltered housing and the route to the site are clearly neither safe nor suitable.

“We fully expect Ineos to appeal, but we have demonstrated today that we have cogent and well evidenced arguments and we believe that a planning inspector at public inquiry will support us in this.

“The people of Woodsetts, Rotherham Borough and our neighbouring areas which are also under threat, have shown that fracking operations are not welcome here or anywhere and we will continue to fight until we defeat this repugnant industry once and for all.”

After the meeting, Barry Cartwright, one of several speakers for Woodsetts Against Fracking, said:

“It was a roller coaster.

“I was totally disappointed by some of the comments made by some members of the committee but I felt that the arguments we presented held sway. Local residents’ heart-felt concerns and objections held the day.

“I am very surprised. We were not hopeful given the recommendation of the planning officers for approval.”

Another Woodsetts resident, Matthew Wilkinson, had argued at the meeting that the Ineos scheme was a “child safeguarding issue” because of emissions from the site. After the meeting, he said:

“I am glad the council has listened to the issue of protecting the children.”

A spokesperson for Frack Free South Yorkshire said:

“When is our government and the fossil fuel industry going to understand that exploring and fracking for shale gas is a step too far?

“The fracking industry has no social licence and any attempts by government to rewrite the rules will only make people even more angry.

“We neither need nor want shale gas.

“It is now time for government to change its policy on this controversial fossil fuel and focus instead on sustainable renewable energy jobs for a better, cleaner future.”

Andy Tickle, head of campaigns at Campaign to Protect Rural England South Yorkshire, who spoke against the application, said:

“We are really pleased that Rotherham continued to oppose drilling at Woodsetts but the decision today will be for nothing unless it defends the inquiry properly with independent experts, rather than its own officers.

“The lessons of the previous inquiry for the shale gas application at Harthill has to be learned.”

Simon Bowens, Yorkshire campaigner, Friends of the Earth, said:

“This is great news and demonstrates why well sites such as this should be all subject to scrutiny by planning committees rather than just waved through on permitted development as the government proposes.”

Reporting from this meeting was made possible by the individual donations from DrillOrDrop readers

45 replies »

  1. No surprise Ineos mentioned the cost of an appeal to apply pressure on the Council.

    The cost of an appeal is not a material planning consideration.

    In Lancasire Cuadrilla had a vertical well with no fracking application refused. Every application is considered on it’s own merits but the Grange Hill site (Singleton) development has similarities to the Ineos proposals.

    The site was passed at appeal but no costs were awarded

    Click to access Appendix%20C.pdf

    Well done Councillors and well done Woodsetts Against Fracking

    • The fact that costs are not awarded does not mean there is no impact on the council. They still have to pay their own costs which are likely to be in the hundreds of thousands. INEOS will of course be able to offset their costs against their tax liabilities as they will be covered under development costs

      • Shame Ineos don’t pay UK taxes then, otherwise would be quids in; in the meantime Jim and his two henchmen are livin’ it up in Monaco….not particularly bothered about any of this, your money is already in their bank….

  2. The words from the inspector who refused costs at the Singleton non fracking site in Lancashire.

    ‘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’

    A good guide when considering the ‘salami’ slicing planning approach to shale gas developments.

  3. I have a feeling the “reasons for their decision” will be very difficult to pull together and will then need to be scrutinised by the officers prior to being issued. Probably about 50:50 whether there is not a U turn at that point, but if not on to an Appeal.

    Based upon the cobbled together “reasons” so far given for refusal, if it gets to that stage, that barrister will need to do a darn good job! Of course, if INEOS believe that is a threat then they will employ more expertise themselves knowing they can claim the costs.

      • ‘The appeal in Lancashire cost the council £330,000’

        Since then Lancashire County Council have refused further shale gas applications.

        The threat of costs of appeal does not impact the decision making process. Hundreds of applications are refused and end up at appeal. It’s part of the system we all support.

        I think Ineos made a big mistake by mentioning the cost of appeal. It may well have annoyed the decision making Councillors who know that costs are a non material planning consideration.

        The cost to the councils from road damage alone would cost millions if shale gas had been allowed to develop.

        Best to stop it now before we get involved in the economic burden of UK shale.

      • How is this an economic burden of shale?

        If you’d have pitched it as the fact you don’t want more wagons on the road, O.K I would agree with you. But economic?

        You do realise how many Hundreds of £MIllions of tax revenue this will create for the Government and local councils?
        We’ll have the best roads in Europe with the money this will create

        The future is electric cars and CNG trucks which will substantially reduce CO2 Emissions in the U.K

        Yet again people think American regulations and practises are the same as U.K regulations… Why?

        • ‘You do realise how many Hundreds of £MIllions of tax revenue this will create for the Government and local councils?
          We’ll have the best roads in Europe with the money this will create’

          You do realise that is nonsense.

          I suggest you read a bit more of the New York discussion paper and then read what EY , OIES , Bloomberg , and Centrica state will be the production costs of UK shale. Then look at the predicted trends for wholesale prices.

          Time to maximise on renewable energy to use the surplus power they produce to charge our electric cars and fill our rapidly advancing battery storage facilities.

          • Classic old data and relying on anti propaganda articles John, brilliant

            Hundreds of £Millions will be paid through taxes into the Treasury. Councils will have £Millions more to spend on infrastructure like roads

            Yet again you point to American articles for evidence. You are worried about production costs for shale, how thoughtful. Talking about American shale if it was such a bad investment why have local Councils invested pension funds of £9,000,000,000 into shale, they Don’t think it’s a bad investment

            Gas is getting more and more expensive, have you not noticed this in your energy bills?

            As for maximising renewable energy, we already pay 9% in green energy tax. Are you going to expect everybody to pay even more to prop them up with more subsidies?

            Battery storage is meant for short term. Minutes or hours. Not days and weeks. Not a chance it is financially or physically possible

  4. Because it links to an anti US/anti Trump sector of the community Kisheny that will not want to understand if it has any real relevance to the UK. Lazy, but it seems important to keep them excited.

      • Replying to la la land and pot, kettle

        Lazy Sher?

        You are not even stringing two sentences together

        Run out of ideas?

        No point to make anymore?

        I take it your are accepting the U.K shale industry is on the launch pad and days away from first gas…

        • That’s because you are posting the same ole same ole which has been disproven time and time again….just cos you keep saying it doesn’t make it happen; definitely la la land….

          Waiting for the shaky shaky Kishy; not happening as soon as you predicted? [‘days away’ I believe you said weeks ago]

          • What has been disproved, please tell…

            Don’t play dumb Sher, you are too clever for that. You know fine well the Lower Bowland shale will be releasing its first gas before the end of September. Please disprove this statement…

  5. Forecasts and speculation in history are often wrong, John. The fact you continue to rely on them is educational-but not in the way you would like.

    The sound barrier was broken.

  6. Shame you are totally incorrect in your statement about INEOS taxes being paid in the UK Sherwulfe. What is a bigger shame is that you know it is incorrect but still want to try and fool others, indicating your opinion of their intelligence. Where is the INEOS head office? Easily found.

    That is a little different to lazy.

    What would be more interesting is that I would suspect their current tax burden would be quite low due to allowances against the huge expansion programs they have been following in recent years. That’s what you get when you create jobs.

    • Another obvious example of the economic burden of shale on Councils is the cost of social care in old age. An increasingly large percentage of the population end up selling their properties to pay for care home costs. It costs well over £20,000 per year. When your money runs out the state pays. As properties near to fracking sites would be worth less then you would be needing the Council to pay your care home costs earlier.

      Every £20,000 you loose of the value of your property through fracking would mean £20,000 more the Council would have to find.

      As we are living longer this could cost Councils millions that it would not have spent if property values had not fallen.

      Of course Cuadrilla have said publicly that house prices near fracking sites would rise.

      Everybody knows that people who move into rural areas are looking to get as close as they can to industrial sites with heavy transport systems,flaring,and risk of explosion.

      • JP that is the most absurd statement for the antis I have seen, laughable. Classic NIMBY statement though.

        Hundreds of £Millions will go into the Treasury. Is it almost £10 Million into the local economy around PNR even before first gas

        IF that was the case the Government would have closed loopholes in people’s inheritance to make sure their estate paid care home bills. My partner advises people on wills and probate, as that is her field of expertise.

        As for flaring? You obviously don’t have a clue on the initial flow testing of shale gas production in the U.K

        The fist few months of flow testing, gas will be burnt off in what can be described as an oven assembly and gas flue. This is to ascertain the volume so the appropriate sized manifold and pipe assemblies can be manufactured and installed. All being subterranean.

        As for risk of explosions, that is just blatant scare tactics by the antis

        • Interesting you keep posting on the economics but are not an economics expert? Keep calling others names; spiraling down Kishy……any more predictions on when it all happens and we can all get back to our lives when it goes bottoms up?

    • Of course, you would know MC, being Jim’s imaginary friend…sorry sunshine, need to get out and read/see/interpret and take off your rose-green tinted glasses….

      • Yet another post Sher with no substance I see

        Cam you not think of any new scare stories for the antis?

        Not long now before first U.K shale gas from down the road from me at PNR

        Really exciting times for the U.K

        U.K self sufficiency on the horizon

        Positive vibe great news

        Very happy for the future of the U.K

        That will be a brilliant scenario we can take to the negotiating table leaving the EU, while the rest of Europe will have to bow down to Putin’s gas we won’t need a therm of it…

          • As you know Sher we have increased our gas imports from Russia and will continue to do so year on year from now on if we don’t produce more of our own.

            But you already know that

            Out of interest who’s side are you on the U.Ks or Russia?

            Straight forward question

            Straight forward answer please

            Everybody wants to know…

            • As we buy coal from Russia, what is your point?
              Do you have to be on a ‘side’ to be in your la la land?
              Not a straight forward question at all; is open to many interpretations….
              Ah; now that call to straight forward answers – but we all know you only want the answer you want to hear.
              ‘Everybody’ – confirmation then of multiple personalities?

  7. Interesting obvious porkie posted, and then a fog attempt when challenged.

    There is a trail of this habit. Perhaps there are more pros posting than so far identified? A very effective way of destroying anti credibility. What other reason could there be for it? Does seem to work if you check comments elsewhere from individuals who occasionally visit this forum.

  8. Ironically that EU and Germany talk big about climate change and yet their CO2 emission has increased last 2 years despite having a huge renewables capacity. And their electricity bill aint cheap. Why??? They burn more coal. And import coal at that. EU is just Parole parole in term of CO2 emission.
    The anti frackers are hypocrite just like them in this sense.

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