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 »

    • This is Fracking Farmhouse David Kesteven’s report on the ongoing Marsh Lane opposition. This is definitely the same situation as Leith Hill and must be treated the same way.

      The Marsh Lane situation must be treated as the same refusal of permission on the same grounds, or there is no consistency in approach by government.



      • Did you miss this Phil C? Watching too many conspiracy theory videos perhaps? Best follow my lead and don’t watch anything from IC….

        “The first shale gas exploration scheme in Derbyshire has been approved.

        In an announcement today, Planning inspector, Elizabeth Hill, gave permission to Ineos Upstream to drill and test for shale gas at Bramleymoor Lane in the village of Marsh Lane. The site could also be used to monitor fracking nearby. Ineos Bramleymoor Lane Appeal Decision (pdf)

        The decision follows an eight-day public inquiry in June at which Ineos was opposed by Derbyshire County Council, Eckington Against Fracking and more than 30 members of the public, including the MP, Lee Rowley, and local headteacher.

        Ineos Upstream welcomed the decision and hoped it would set a precedent for what the company described as “timely decisions on future applications”.

        Does DEFRA own the INEOS well site at Marsh Lane? If it doesn’t there is no comparison. The DOD report states:

        “The Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, has refused to renew a lease of land for oil drilling in Surrey because of the damage it could do to ancient woodland.”

        • Oh Dear, here we go again.

          Do try to keep up Paul, that is a David Kesteven Fracking Farmhouse report on Marsh Lane, not an Ian R Crane report, didn’t you look at it again? Never mind.

          I just thought you would like a look at Jelly and Oscar again, since you were so taken by them last time? That was scientific and rational wasnt it?

          Lets see what Michael Gove said shall we?

          Apologies to Ruth and Paul for copying from the report:

          “Speaking at the Surrey Rural Economy Conference, he argued for the need to safeguard and protect the environment for sustainable growth.

          “History teaches us that when we think about trying to generate growth in an unsustainable fashion, you can for a period generate a level of economic growth by taking all the environmental constraints and ditching them. You can generate economic growth for a brief period which may be above the trend which you’ve previously enjoyed but only ultimately by undermining the solid and sound basis on which all economic growth and all human flourishing is based.”

          Mr Gove said:

          “We have been trying to drive economic growth in a way that has been literally unsustainable, that we have been quarrying natural resources from the earth at a rate which meant that we were in effect hacking into the tree of life, sawing off the branch on which we sit, undermining the foundation of our future.”

          He said development in the green belt were some of the most contentious questions he had to deal with:

          “they reflect the commitment which my constituents feel, that so many of us feel towards ensuring that that which we inherited, that with which we grew up as children, that which we pass on to others should be protected, preserved and enhanced.”

          As well as Bury Hill Wood, onshore exploration schemes in the green belt have been approved at “Marsh Lane in Derbyshire” and Harthill in South Yorkshire.

          Mr Gove added:

          “My belief is that the future for the rural economy, the future for food production, the future for tourism and the future for all those who cherish and live in or near rural areas, that future will depend on people recognising that we are playing an appropriate role as stewards of, protectors of, enhancers of, our natural environment and that the food that we produce and the countryside we look after and the biodiversity which we cherish is all underpinned by a commitment to the highest possible standards and the highest possible ambitions for the future.”

          No mention of DEFRA there is there? Looks more like a statement of intent to protect for all such threatened sites doesnt it. Probably just a shot across Teresa May’s bows in a cynical bid for popularity in the fractured tory debacle but in an insane political punch up, it is still interesting to see what is used as ammunition as they tear each other apart to seek political capital, where do we see that on this web site? Oh yes? Right here.

          As for conspiracy theory and the curious obsession with ian R Crane, well coining the cover all conspiracy theory accusation at the drop of a hat flat cat fat cat frack hat, is a conspiracy theory in itself, and is used ad nauseam to cover up the fact that there is no argument against anything said, its just more smear fear character assassination and has no basis in rational discussion, its just the lazy empty rhetoric of desperation.

          But dont let facts get in the way of a good but “boring” and ever weakening anti anti narrative for the benefit of the low cognoscenti, we are used to that, it keeps the anti antis excited and wraps them in their nice fluffy comfort blanket, getting a little soiled by now though?

          Did you like the impression? Guess who that is? Just think of dead wiesels?

          Got to go to work now, some of us dont spend all day behind a frack hack hot desk just to please their masters.

          Have a nice day!

          • As usual you fail to admit you are wrong. DEFRA cancelled the lease, the oil company are leaving. Planning permission has been granted at a PI for the Marsh Lane site. Facts. What you have posted from Mr Gove is a Politician’s waffle and nothing to do with what happened.

            Enjoy your day at work.

            • Whoops! I see someones tripped over the artificial smog machine again….twice? Never mind the sun will burn it away.

              Well, what do have here again? I never mentioned DEFRA Paul, that was your diversion, but perhaps “politicians waffle” isn’t confined to politicians?

              Perhaps when casting aspersions, it would be more appropriate to glimpse the refection in the corporate Dorian Gray fractured mirror once in a blue moon?

              If of course there is any discernable difference any more?

              Such fun! Always a pleasure!

              Have a nice corporate day.

  1. And now we will have storms in the Gulf of Mexico which will increase wind generation of electricity, so happy days!

    Err, no. If platforms are shut down we will probably see oil up to $80/barrel and the consequences upon the energy bills around the world shortly. That is the reality for the majority.

    Perhaps the antis should have not delayed UK testing of fracking when oil was below $40/barrel?

    I wonder where the oil will come from to meet Fawley Refinery diesel output expansion? Locally, or from half way round the world?

  2. “Our plans to invest in the UK with the further expansion of our plant in Grangemouth has been made possible because we now have access to the raw materials we need. The successful completion in 2016 of our project to bring to Grangemouth plentiful supplies of competitive US shale gas ethane over a long term agreement, has breathed new life into the plant”.

    INEOS-announcing a further £60m investment today, taking their investment to more than £500m over the last 5 years.

    So much for jobs not being created-or secured in this case. So much for shale gas not being competitive.

    $10 billion invested to achieve this. Wake up Nicola.

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