Updated: National Trust drops objection to Ineos seismic surveys at Clumber Park

Clumber ParkNottinghamshire

Clumber Park Nottinghamshire. Photo: Richard Watson

Updated 21/12/2018.

The National Trust has withdrawn its opposition to seismic testing by Ineos at Clumber Park in Nottinghamshire.

The organisation was facing a case at the High Court next year after refusing access to the site to explore for shale gas. Ineos has stopped ts legal action.

But the National Trust has said it would continue to fight against fracking. Andy Beer, the Director of the Midlands for the National Trust said:

“Our position has not changed: we oppose fracking at Clumber Park.

“We think it is wrong that we, or any other landowner, should be compelled to admit surveys at a place as special and loved as this.

“Despite our best efforts to explain why Clumber Park is so sensitive and such an inappropriate site, Ineos is intent on pursuing access to survey at the site.

“We have a duty to ensure that the surveys are carried out in ways that absolutely minimise the risks of damaging wildlife, fragile habitats and opportunities for hundreds of thousands of people to enjoy Clumber Park.

“Let me be clear though: Clumber Park comes first. And, as such, we have demanded that INEOS provides assurances that these surveys will not damage this special place, which is our main priority.

“It is important at this stage to make the distinction between carrying out seismic surveys to search for shale gas on the one hand, and fracking itself. We are still completely opposed to fracking at Clumber Park and will fight tooth and nail to protect the area.”

Ineos already had the go-ahead from the Oil & Gas Authority to bring a legal case under the Mines (Working Facilities and Support) Act 1966 to get access to Clumber Park. The case was due to go to trial in the spring 2019. More details

The National Trust had previously said that Ineos did not follow proper planning processes, which, it said, should have involved fully considering the potential environmental impacts. Another key issue was expected to be the impact on the Site of Special Scientific Interest, which made up more than 1,300 acres of the 3,800-acre estate.

Ineos had argued that seismic surveys were not intrusive and represented no threat to Clumber Park. The survey was in the national interest and, in refusing access, the National Trust had behaved unreasonably. An Ineos executive had previously said the testing could avoid the SSSI.

In March 2018, a coalition of environmental organisation, community groups and academics wrote to the Prime Minister in support of the National Trust in its legal case against Ineos. DrillOrDrop report


On 21 December 2018, Ineos said it had stopped its legal action against the National Trust.

Tom Pickering, chief operating officer of Ineos Shale, said:

“I am delighted that INEOS and the National Trust have now reached an agreement to allow a geological survey at Clumber Park. There is an expectation for us to survey sites within our licence areas. Whilst we will always seek to secure access through the courts if necessary, this is a last resort and we are pleased that in this case the National Trust has now recognised our legal right to survey on their land.”

“Our position has always been that the National Trust’s reasons for refusing to allow the survey at Clumber Park to take place were unreasonable and that the Court would therefore grant us the right to undertake the survey.  I am very pleased that the National Trust has now been reassured that the surveys are safe and pose no threat to the beautiful landscape of Clumber Park. We will ensure the surveys are carried out sensitively.”



49 replies »

  1. They have been bullied into the decision, Ineos making good friends and neighbours, disgusting and typical of this filthy industry.

    • High Court threat, well there we see it again and again and again, money talks, threats of massive damages, bullying, impure and simple.

      What was the threat i wonder? Compulsory purchase? Eminent domain? There really are no depths (pun intended) to which Ineos will go to bully their way around the wants and needs of the people are there?.

      [Typo corrected at poster’s request]

    • Hi Juno, filthy industry? Do you drive a car, heat your home using gas, use electricity produced by gas, use plastics. The UK will need gas until we have sufficient renewables in place to replace the energy supplied by gas. At least 50 years away and at least a £50 billion investment in renewables. Better to produce UK natural gas then to depend on Europe, Russia and Qatar. Regards.

      • Better to produce UK natural gas then to depend on Europe, Russia and Qatar.

        In the real 2018 world

        ” In 2017 the UK exported 124 TWh of gas which was 8.9 per cent higher than in 2016. Belgium was the main destination of UK gas exports (from where it could be shipped elsewhere in mainland Europe)”

        “It is possible that a very small amount of gas from Russia finds its way across continental Europe to the UK, but given the gas pipeline infrastructure it is believed that most of the gas from the Netherlands is sourced from the Dutch sector of the North Sea, and that most of the gas from Belgium is sourced from Norway via Zeepipe (which terminates at Zeebrugge)”

        “Thus, any UK gas sourced from Russia is negligible”

        “LNG imports from Qatar fell by 40 per cent”

        Click to access DUKES_LTT.pdf

        • Check your linked report John:

          Selective with your info yet again – Same document:

          In 2017 the UK IMPORTED 524 TWh of gas.

          Still having a problem with the maths? Does that not make us a net IMPORTER? (524-124=400 TWh gas IMPORTED net (real world….)

          You can see it in the following chart in the same linked document. But you know this of course – why not share it with us all?

          Page 14 – Chart G.2 : Imports and exports by fuel type, 2017

          The “Green Bar” on the graph – Net Imports Natural gas.

          Perhaps you should drop this angle of your fake news?

          • Paul. UK Fracking will never replace the124tWh of gas the UK exported in 2017. If the UK is so desperate for gas that it needs to ruin its own water soil and air through harmful shale fracking, why doesn’t it just stop exporting all this spare gas it has at the moment and store it instead?

      • It is the clear threat of an open and shut case that INEOS would win thats the problem. These surveys are minimally intrusive.

        Just like the fracking process itself.

      • Hi Gasman, yes a filthy industry causing the destruction of the planet’s climate and toxic air pollution causing ill health and premature death. Fifty more years of burning any fossil fuel, including gas, will destroy our planet. Gas may be less harmful than burning coal but it is a fossil fuel nonetheless and methane is a highly potent ghg. The vast majority of gas currently used, as I’m sure you’re well aware, is imported by pipe from Norway. There is an oversupply of gas available now and extracting new reserves is completely incompatible with tackling climate change. The sooner we transition away from fossil fuels the better. Incidentally, I assume you appreciate that even if they fracked England to death we would be unable to replicate the US and would still be dependent on gas imports? And as John Powney says, any gas extracted by these companies can be sold by them on the gas markets at the highest price possible? Not only does this mean fracked gas could be exported but it also means it will not lower prices. But it will increase the amount of hydrocarbons being burned and will harm the planet. And it will significantly and negatively impact our countryside and communities. The public want more green alternatives and the lack of progress by governments is deplorable. The fossil fuel industry is paying millions to lobby governments and in some cases fund climate change denial. In my opinion the sooner we are free of the industry the better for the planet and for all.

        • Well said, Kat T. Encouragingly, more and more people are comng over to the realisation that our planet is finite, that we cannot blindly continue to destroy.

  2. They knew all along that only seismic surveying was intended. This same exercise has previously been conducted on the same land for other purposes.
    They refused to enter any discussion with INEOS to discuss the matter, and were left with the prospect of losing the case and paying large costs.

    The management within the NT has come under a lot of scrutiny within the last couple of years, and has not appeared that professional. The public are well aware of charities that may be set up to do good, but waste money from the public-and much worse.

    When this situation was first flagged up the points were made that was the likely outcome. Never mind, the membership will be expected to fund the costs produced to date.

    • MARTIN ,

      Please , PLEASE just for “ONCE ” back up what you say with PROOF.

      RE- National Trust under scrutiny and the reasons why .

      … ……..A link will do ……….

      OR are you just giving us your opinion backed up with SWEET NOTHING.

      Long term members of this forum are well aware of your dislike and bitterness towards the National Trust , due to the fact they are strongly opposed to fracking on their land .

      I hope the National Trust make public the dates, places and times where Seismic testing will be taking place ….. Ineos will be unwelcomed guests on privately owned land this time and there will be nothing they can do about paid members excersising their right to leisurely stroll in front of the vehicles on National Trust land .

      IGAS had exactly the same problem at Barton Moss ……. It was a privately owned road that people were walking on and there was nothing IGAS could do to to make the protesters move out of the way to make way for their trucks.

      [Typo corrected at poster’s request]

      • Jack-we have discussed this SEVERAL times and I gave you links, but you were totally uninterested to follow them, so a bit late just to repeat the nonsense. Indeed, on one occasion, all you wanted to do was to try and invalidate an article because the journalist wasn’t to your liking!

        I have absolutely nothing against the NT, but, neither am I blind to the fact they have had several episodes of poor management exposed recently. If I was a member, I would like to know how much this little episode has cost their members.

        You try and sneak in a comment about INEOS fracking on NT land, which either means you have missed the whole substance-which we know you haven’t (see my first sentence) or you believe you can supply false information to fool others. “Due to the fiction” should be your other correction.

        • MARTIN,

          FOR THE RECORD ,

          You have never, I repeat NEVER provided a link to a webpage .

          You did however suggest once , when I was unable to access a newspaper online that you had referred to without ” paying a fee .” That I pop on down to my local library to view the article….. HARDLY A LINK .

          So….. LADIES and GENTLEMEN I ask you all , has MARTIN ever provided a link to anything he has ever said, ???

        • No MARTIN, I’m fully aware as to what the article is about and what it represents

          You know it , I know it , anyone with more than two brain cells in their heads knows it .

          INEOS are not wanting to do this seismic testing because they are bored and have nothing else to do with their time ….. If they find any large quantities of Shale they will want to extract it from whenever it is.

          Seismic testing is the first step on a long slippery slope .

          As far as the National Trust ( NT ) goes, your anger towards the NT at our last full blown debate on the topic was of the ” Richter Scale ” as long term members of this forum will be well aware of .

          It would appear you’ve now done a full 180° turn on that one .

          • I do not do anger, Jack.

            We all know you had difficulties accessing articles from the Times, and we could speculate as to why that might be. However, I offered you some helpful hints, including checking the author’s details as it was a contribution from a freelance, but you couldn’t manage that. Yes, they operate a paywall, so you have to do a bit of work. No need to try and make it so complicated. You could also have found the reference that showed clearly that INEOS have no intention, or need, to drill inside Clumber Park.

            But, no need to worry about it. After all you could just trot out your 2013 link to show it will all be uneconomic.

            (Probably would be if it was the shale they were after!)

      • Jack

        The likely protest during the seismic activity was a subject of conversation while walking round the lake, avoiding dog poo and watching dogs run riot in areas where signs clearly state ‘ please keep your dogs on a lead’.

        If the NT decide to open up areas not previously accessible to the general public and or paid members ( farmland, areas where dogs are not welcome ) they will no doubt need to assess the risks to the environment and likely users an assessment that would dovetail into the one by INEOs.

        Opening up roads to pedestrian traffic while considering the dangers from vehicles would lean towards keeping them separate where possible, be it by distance or time.

        No doubt something that will turn up in those risk assessments agreed beyween INEOS and the NT?

  3. Yes, Martin, because companies like INEOS only do seismic surveys for the fun of it, not because they intend to explore for shale gas.

  4. Ellie-you should read the information that has been available on the subject for some while and that would save your fabrication.

    INEOS made it quite clear that seismic testing was all that was needed within Clumber Park and any (unlikely) further development could be achieved from OUTSIDE of the Park. Take a look at the local coal mines. It is not unusual for extraction to be some distance laterally from what is on the surface. I suspect, in answer to Jono’s question, that is the legal/financial reason why the NT have backed down.

    • The issue is Martin that landowners have no choice or rights to deny access. Previously with the small conventional onshore industry this wasn’t such an issue because the industry operated on a much smaller scale and access and extraction has been negotiated and agreed. It is my professional understanding that there has not been a case in court before where a gas/oil company has taken a landowner to court in order to access their land without consent. We are not only dealing with a company that is prepared to do just that and not only for seismic testing but for extraction also. No landowner, whether large or small, likes to have the rights and control of their land taken away against their wishes. This is not a good situation and I believe if INEOS continue in this manner it will in the longer term not end well. You can push a branch so far before it will break. The public will have complete empathy with landowners and landowners will not tolerate loosing decision making and control of their land. And I would also add that the setting of a place such as Clumber Park is extremely important and fracking taking place outside Clumber Park can significantly impact landscape, visual amenity, biodiversity and habitat. Nature does not recognise boundaries animals will hunt, forage, fly, outside of the Park even if they live in the Park. And visitors appreciate the tranquility and natural environment not only inside the Park but also surrounding the Park.

      • Thanks, Kat T. Don’t forget that if fracking is incorporated into the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project regime as this government wants, the question of compulsory purchase is no longer a distant one.

    • Seismic testing by Rathlin Energy in East Yorkshire caused damage to a lake which started draining. Property damage has also been reported as a result of explosions set of during seismic testing. INEOS can drill from outside Clumber Park but the horizontal part of the well, which can be a Mile or more in length, could end up under the park and lake. After fracking radioactive and toxic hydrocarbons and fracking chemicals could migrate to the aquifer and surface, especially if tremors create long faults / fractures. But you know all that.

      • Wandering Dutchman

        The damage described in the frack free website is interesting. Primarily as such damage, if true, is not common.

        INEOS has completed a comprehensive Seismic Programme recently, as had British Coal many years before, without the problems described.

        Windows blown out! I have not heard of that one before for Seismic Surveying in the UK, nor when blowing post holes for power line poles in Scotland ( which was fun ).

    • Martin I have visited Clumber Park a number of times. Former coal mines have no significance. Planning laws and standards change and thankfully so. We have all been to historic sites where inappropriate development was permitted that would not be permitted in more recent years. We put children down coalmines but we don’t now. Coal was acceptable previously but now it is considered a major contributor to climate change and poor air quality, times change. And fracking development even outside Clumber Park must not be acceptable either.

  5. Not great PR for the wannabe frackers is it though?

    Sir Jim 🐀 isn’t satisfied with owning just the two super yachts it seems, he’s intent on aggressively persuing the National Trust for access when they have clearly refused him.

    The NT have identified climate change as the biggest threat to their work, they seek environmental reform and have a membership of 5 million. That is a lot of voters.

    I imagine if any of the membership haven’t had cause to look into fracking before they will be doing so now, and finding out why so many other countries have banned it.

    I wonder how many of the 5 million will form a view about this filthy business and blame the Tories for the policy of Maximum Economic Extraction itself as well as the greedy overreaching operators and their investors.

    Bring on the GE I say, let’s get the environmental reform started.

  6. Ineos arguing that seismic surveys are not intrusive and represents no threat to Clumber Park is not representative of the actual experience of residents in areas where seismic surveys have taken place. The increased vehicle movements, equipment strewn around fields for weeks on end and not fully cleared away afterwards, churning up fields and lanes with the vibroseis trucks and the sheer noise of the actual process is rather understated by Ineos. After hearing the first hand experiences of residents adjacent to these activities, I truly fear for the wildlife in Clumber’s precious park and am saddened that Ineos will be allowed to bring such inappropriate activity to an area that should be better protected by the nation.

    • Absolute nonsense Rosie. I do have experience from landowners and they have found them interesting, and not intrusive. I dare say there are some who find the opposite but there are always those who will find a grievance within any activity.

      Clumber Park has experienced this activity before, so perhaps the wildlife you refer to is a little more able to cope than you suggest.

      • Is there anyone you don’t know MARTIN ???

        It’s easy just to say something and back it up with SWEET NOTHING .

        Prove you know landowners that find such activities on their land interesting and non intrusive .

        • Why Jack? I note you did not address the remark to Rosie.

          But, of course it is easier to suggest those who disagree with you are liars and those who agree are not. Interesting approach but pretty poor, and a sure sign of insecurity.

          Maybe, it would be a better idea if you gained some first hand experience yourself rather than join the attack poodle pack.

  7. If you think Corbyn is going to help the environment think again. Try reading the following to get a feel for how a Corbyn run country will work:

    Chernobyl: History of a Tragedy Hardcover – 15 May 2018 by Serhii Plokhy

    Whatever your views it is is worth reading.

    By the way I am a NT member. The biggest threat to their work is lack of money…..

    • Paul are you suggesting that the U.K. Labour Party that is closely affiliated to trade unions and work place health and safety standards would be somehow linked to a Chernobyl type catastrophe? Or what is the point you are making? Socialism is not communism nor is Conservatism fascism. I hate political propaganda of all kinds. Whatever ones views, Corbyn is not a communist. The U.K. is not the former Soviet Union and we have trade unions, employee rights, environmental legislation and live in a democracy.

      • Not the mainstream Labour Party – onlt those at the top. Corbyn, Abbot, Mcdonnell are a disaster aka Venezuela. Was Stalin a communist? Has there ever been a true communist leader. No.


    An example of Corbyn keeping his promises – “Labour had promised to keep the scheme alive if it came to power, by using a “modest” portion of a £557m clean energy subsidy pot earmarked largely for offshore windfarms.”

    So no new money for household solar/PV from Labour either. Just take some from the relatively efficient (35%) pot and put it in the relatively inefficient (<11%) pot. But as PV is so cheap now and so good for climate change I expect another 800,000 homes will install panels, this time without FITs, afterall it has never been about the money? Or has it?

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