People living in two new housing estates in Ellesmere Port have complained that they didn’t know about proposals for gas exploration nearby.
The news emerged as campaigners against IGas plans to test its Ellesmere Port well submitted evidence from expert witnesses to a public inquiry.
IGas is appealing against the refusal in January 2018 of planning permission by Cheshire West and Chester Council. The inquiry takes place next month.
The site, called Portside, is within 1km of new homes, a children’s play centre and a nature reserve. Just over 1km away is a residential home, schools and tourism attractions.
Frack Free Ellesmere Port & Upton said in a statement this morning:
“The IGas well site in Ellesmere Port could be the UK’s first gas exploration site in the heart of a community.
“Residents of the brand new Persimmon and Anwyl housing estates have expressed anger and grave concerns. They were never warned or consulted over the existence of the well or the proposals for the development.”
One resident, quoted by the campaigners, said:
“No-one told me that we faced living next to a gas field or how it might affect us”.
Another was quoted as saying:
“My family home is only 350m from this well and my builder, solicitor, mortgage company and council didn’t tell me anything about it.”
Frack Free Ellesmere Port & Upton described the IGas proposal this morning as “the wrong time, the wrong place, the wrong industry.”
Residents were concerned about IGas’s intention to use hydrochloric acid to open pathways within the rock for the gas to flow, the group said. They also feared the impact of flaring more than 10 tonnes of untreated gas each day, potentially 24-hours a day for up to three months.
The group said Ellesmere Port was at a “critical point”, with plans for a major regeneration project underway. It said:
“If IGas is allowed to succeed with its proposals to test for shale gas it will mean two giant steps backward for Ellesmere Port.”
The application was refused because of its potential adverse effects on climate change.
Frack Free Ellesmere Port & Upton said its expert evidence, issued today to the Planning Inspectorate, would cover the risks and contributions to climate change. It would also address geology, risk engineering, air quality, health, sociology, economics, national and international law and planning. The group said it planned to publish its evidence on its website.
Cheshire West and Chester Council and IGas will also be presenting evidence to the inquiry.
IGas has described the target formation as the Pentre Chert and has said it does not propose to frack the well. It said:
“For the avoidance of doubt, our proposals do not involve any additional drilling, the deepening of the existing well or hydraulic fracturing. It only relates to the flow testing of the existing well and associated preparatory works (also known as a “workover”) necessary to prepare the well for test.”
- The inquiry runs from 15-23 January 2019 (not sitting on Mondays) at the Assembly Room, Chester Town Hall, Northgate Street, Chester CH1 2HJ. It is open to the public.