What’s happened two years on from Ineos shale gas applications?

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Ineos shale gas site at Common Road, Harthill, 2 May 2019. Photo: DrillOrDrop

Two years ago today, Ineos Upstream, the UK’s biggest shale gas licence-holder, submitted its first formal plans for an exploration site.

It applied for permission to drill a vertical exploration well at a site at Bramleymoor Lane, in the north east Derbyshire village of Marsh Lane.

Three weeks later, the company submitted similar proposals for a site at Common Road, in Harthill, in Rotherham borough.

Later that year, on 25 October 2017, Ineos made a third similar application for a site off Dinnington Road, Woodsetts, also in Rotherham borough.

The three applications were the first of what were expected to be multiple schemes to fulfil Ineos’s work commitment under 21 licences awarded during the 14th round in 2016. The company had agreed to drill 28 vertical wells and frack another 11 horizontal wells.

Since the three schemes were submitted, Ineos has made no more applications and has not started work on any of the sites for which permission was granted.

In this update, DrillOrDrop reviews the progress and the latest state of play.

Marsh Lane village from Bramleymoor Lane 170426 DoD

The village of Marsh Lane from Bramleymoor Lane, where Ineos proposes to explore for shale gas. Photo: DrillOrDrop

Marsh Lane and Harthill

The Marsh Lane and the Harthill applications were unusually not decided at formal planning committee meetings.

On 24 November 2017, before a decision could be made, Ineos asked the Planning Inspectorate to intervene.

The company appealed against non-determination, saying in a statement:

“INEOS felt that decisions would not be forthcoming despite granting a number of time extensions.”

Derbyshire County and Rotherham Borough councils both decided to oppose the applications at planning inquiries. In both cases, the councils’ opposition was overruled. The Marsh Lane application was approved in August 2018 and Harthill in June 2018.

Both permissions were subject to conditions, some of which had to be complied with before work could start.

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More than 10 months after the Harthill decision, less than half these conditions have been sent to Rotherham Borough Council for approval. A spokesperson for the council told DrillOrDrop:

“The planning permission was subject to 30 conditions, of which 11 must be met before construction on the site begins. The subject of the conditions range from traffic management to the impact on the local environment and residents.

“Evidence for four of the conditions has been submitted and the discharge of these conditions will be considered in early May. These conditions are:

  • Condition 09 – mud on road
  • Condition 12 – dust management plan
  • Condition 14 – archaeological investigation
  • Condition 15 – community liaison group

“Information relating to the additional conditions has not yet been submitted by INEOS.”

The spokesperson added:

“Details of when construction is likely to start has not been provided by the operator to date.”

At Marsh Lane, eight months after approval, Ineos has not submitted any conditions to Derbyshire County Council.

A council spokesperson said:

“We are still waiting for Ineos to submit the scheme so we can discharge the conditions.”

Key facts and timeline for Bramleymoor Lane, Marsh Lane

Key facts and timeline for Common Road, Harthill


The Woodsetts application, unlike the first two schemes, was decided by councillors at a formal planning committee meeting.

Ineos made two almost identical applications for the site and both were refused. The first was rejected unanimously on 8 March 2018. The second, which had some minor changes, was rejected by seven votes to five on 7 September 2018.

In January 2019, the company appealed against the second refusal.

A public inquiry is due to begin in Rotherham on Tuesday 11 June 2019, chaired by planning inspector, Katie Peerless.

The hearing, which is expected to sit on eight days, will consider evidence from Ineos, Rotherham Borough Council and the local campaign group, Woodsetts Against Fracking (more details). All have the right to call and cross-examine witnesses.

The council is due to oppose the scheme on its likely impacts on local amenity and noise. It dropped its objection on highway safety grounds. Woodsetts Against Fracking is opposing the scheme on a range of grounds, including noise, local impact and highway safety.

Key facts and timeline for land off Dinnington Road, Woodsetts

17 replies »

  1. In the meantime, Ineos chopped down the Harthill site perimeter hedge to two feet, leaving nowhere for birds to nest; this three days before the official start of nesting season (see first photograph of article above). They have killed the crops on the land within their site, and set up wind-blown bird scarers. At a time when the UN declares not only that climate change has become an environmental climate emergency but also that our very existence is threatened by our own disrespect for ecology, it seems total madness to allow this behaviour to continue. Ineos have said loud and clear their whole purpose is selfish, that any shale gas production will go for plastics feedstock, and that ten wells per pad, and ten pads per square mile would be necessary for economically viable fracking. They push ahead with their plans against all community opposition, ripping holes in democratic process as they go. It is small communities like these three villages, and others like them, that carry the risk for Ineos’s profit; there is no compensatory handout that will mitigate the psychological impacts, nor for any clean-up, post production. I despair over what will happen to my village if we allow any fracking developments to take place, if we allow it to take place anywhere for that matter. Despite planning permission having been granted, the conditions laid upon Ineos are wholly inadequate, but could also turn out to be unworkable. Let’s hope so. We continue the fightback, and to support one another across all the Ineos sites.

  2. Keep up the fight , right will prevail, sending loving support to you and the land you are trying to conserve

  3. If it is true the National Grid claim they will be carbon free by 2025 then there is no basis for the development of shale gas.
    It would take at least 5 years for exploration sites to be prepared for production; so the “dash for gas” is irrelevant.
    Time for the dirty frackers like Ineos to come clean and admit they are not addressing fuel poverty but only interested in profit from plastic.

  4. Meanwhile, back in reality, INEOS will be awaiting the results from the Igas operated sites, as they have already indicated, and probably the results as to who will be the new Business Minister. Both should be clear in the next few months and with clarity to INEOS will come clarity to all those antis who are so keen to observe action!

    • You talk about the real world Martin. You should come and live in the reality of fracking exploration next to sheltered housing for the elderly, vulnerable and sick. Come and visit us in Woodsetts and see what the industry has planned for our small rural village. Speak to those vulnerable residents whose homes are 20 metres from the access track and 420 metres from the well pad, See the countryside that will be industrialised and the country roads that will be overrun with HGV traffic. Fracking will never have social licence as yesterday’s Govt. survey has indicated. I’m glad to be an “anti” if it means protecting the old and vulnerable, preventing the industrialisation of our countryside, the destruction of ecology, the prevention of illness and early death and the acceleration of climate change. What are you proud of?

  5. I’m proud of not trying to create fake stories, based upon the square route of-nothing-rscholey!!

    I walked my dog this am and noticed the COUNCIL had just cut the hedges alongside the common.

    No, the survey did not indicate anything of the sort. It showed that over 50% were NOT against fracking, even though no benefits to them have yet been established. Yes, maybe that is not the case in some areas but when have Nimbys ever been any excuse for sound judgement?

    I have read comments from parents in USA who are delighted with fracking under their schools helping to support the community and its desire for extra educational funding. Meanwhile, I see some in UK who would proudly prefer to prevent their children being given support to improve their health because it is contrary to their dogma.

    But then, as it does not mean any of those things, better find something else to be proud of. I noticed the “if”!!

    By the way, I live within 200 metres of a new housing estate being built upon what was a strategic gap and an area of SSI-until the owners poisoned the rare orchids and paid the huge fine but still ended up with planning permission, and around 2 miles from the solar farm built upon the next strategic gap that has now enabled the farmer to sell the next bit of land for another housing estate because of change of use being authorised for the solar farm! Last time I drove by there were traffic lights because the gas main was being connected!

    Real enough?

    • Wow, touch a nerve did I Martin? The over use of exclamation marks and desperate attempts to twist statistics and find comparisons would indicate as much. Let’s see how it plays out shall we.

  6. No nerve, rscholey-no snowflake. Unlike Dominic (11), who recently stated that he has learned that some people lie on the internet I spent a little more time to show that maybe it is not the lies that are the end of it.

    No, I did not twist any statistics-I simple straightened out a tangle someone else deliberately created. Dominic (11) seems a pretty bright guy-I suspect he can do maths. as well.

    I agree-lets see how it plays out. If you want my view (probably not) it will not be quick, so the antis can get excited about lack of activity. Like most businesses, the fracking companies will be awaiting a new PM and set of Ministers to determine what the ground rules will be. I really don’t see much of consequence happening until around the end of this year. Maybe some other activity from Sir Jim, but I suspect he is astute enough not to rush down a fracking channel when other better channels may become available.

    • Martin has a lot of knowledge on fracking spends all day shooting the antis and nimbys down don’t think he works actually think it could be JR himself not jr from Dallas but Jim ratcliffe from INEOS really weird they have the same initials

  7. Well Martyn Collyer, the question is what did you do about the hedge cutting, the SSSI and the orchids? There are some useful lessons from the anti-fracking movement in how to take on your environmental concerns or perhaps you are an armchair warrior who likes to moan about stuff and do nothing, apart from criticising those who do care and do something?

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