Villagers oppose Ineos plans for road closures around Harthill shale gas site

Harthill road closures 6

Road closures and schedule for proposed work. Source: Ineos Upstream

Ineos is proposing six weeks of road closures around its shale gas exploration site near the village of Harthill in south Yorkshire, a new document has revealed.

The company needs to close the roads to build 23 passing places on the lorry route to the site at Common Road.

The passing places were discussed during a public inquiry into the scheme and approved by a planning inspector in June 2018. But the road closures were not raised during the six days of hearings.

Villagers and local councillors have objected to the proposals. They said the effect would be to divert non-site traffic past the school and through the centre of Harthill.

The road closures are the latest in a series of traffic management proposals put forward by Ineos to tackle the challenges of narrow roads around the Harthill site.

Originally, the company suggested a one-way system for its heavy goods vehicles. This was rejected as unsuitable by Rotherham council highways officers.

Ineos then proposed road closures using traffic control orders. This was again rejected by the council because there were businesses on the affected roads.

The final scheme, published in the weeks before the public inquiry, proposed increasing the number of passing places from six to 23 and introducing stop-go boards on two sections of the lorry route.

Under the conditions of the planning permission, Ineos must agree a traffic management plan with Rotherham Council.

The company sent the council an “enhanced traffic management plan” dated April 2019 and then another, almost identical version, dated May 2019.

This week, Rotherham Council received a further Ineos document, called the construction management plan, which included the road closures.

It proposed five phases of work, scheduled to last a total of six weeks, and affected three roads. The roads would be closed from 8am-6pm, Monday to Friday, and would be open at weekends. Part of the route is in Derbyshire.

Ineos promised to inform landowners and businesses on the route and the emergency services would be kept up-to-date. The company said it would ask Harthill Parish Council to assist in keeping the community informed. Ineos representatives would also liaise with the neighbouring Thorpe Salvin Parish Council.

Rotherham Council is now consulting on the proposals. DrillOrDrop understands comments should be sent to the council by 1 August 2019. But the consultation is expected to remain open until the final proposals are agreed between Ineos and Rotherham’s planning department.

Harthill Against Fracking, which opposed the Ineos scheme at the public inquiry, said the road closures had not been part of the original application or the granted permission and would cause more problems than they solved.

Ineos had said its operations would not affect Harthill. But opponents of the closures said they would cause traffic congestion in Harthill and Thorpe Salvin.

DrillOrDrop invited Ineos to comment. This post will be updated with any response.

22 replies »

  1. This isn’t the USA with wide expansive roads to take these vehicles. When will the planners and Government wake up to that, our narrow country roads are just that and should be left unscarred

    [Typo corrected at poster’s request]

  2. A great number of our narrow country roads service agriculture, Paula C and have required continuous adjustment over the last few decades as agricultural machinery has become larger and heavier. On top of that, we now have many that have required adjustment due to the introduction of sat. navs. that has made them rat runs.

    I think the planners and the Government are well aware that they need to react to change of circumstances over time.

  3. Thank you for your valuable contribution, Mark. Perhaps you could add something of relevance one day? It is supposed to be a discussion facility, you know.

    By the way, many rural areas will be in the middle of 6 weeks or more of rural road disruption. It is called-the harvest! Happens every year, not just once. Shock/horror.

    • Mark makes a valid point here Martin.

      Additionally I am interested to know if the number of agricultural vehicles encountered on rural roads at harvest time require the roads to be closed to all other traffic? Its a rhetorical question as shock/horror they don’t!

      Nobody benefits from this situation apart from the applicant and as was seen at Roseacre Wood with Caudrilla if this level of mitigation is required to the road network to make the site accessible for operations related traffic then the site is poorly located and its impact on other road users whether vehicular, cyclist, equestrian or pedestrian is to significant.

  4. I have often had to get on the verge to to allow a combine harvester to get past on a country lane. I have followed trailer loads of various tbings but I have never heard farmers demanding that roads should be closed for this to happen. This is simply an arrogant action of Ineos who think that they can make the rules ro suit themselves.

    • Jon Sibbald

      According to the report above, this is the third idea, the first two having been refused.

      So not quite INEOS being arrogant thinking they can make the rules to suit themselves. More like three attempts before they got council approval ( following consultation with the council ).

      I doubt that they prefer this proposal to the cheaper ones first floated, and it requires road closures as mandated by the council.

      But not quite the result those against the drilling wanted, which is no drilling, rather than a resolution to the traffic issue.

      However, the passing places will be there for all to use in future, which will be a common good frack or no frack.

      • Smacks of Caudrilla and Roseacre Wood as I mention in my reply to Martians post above. Couldn’t get it right first time, second time or third time because the site was not in a sustainable location and the impact on other road users was far too great. I am guessing the council here might look to reject on the same basis at Harthill.

        • Crembrule

          Maybe, but the roads seem to be either rural backwaters full of walkers, cyclists and horses ( for the first two ideas ), or now, critical thoroughfares for lots of traffic.

          But clearly opinions vary.

  5. Martin if I add a contribution you just shoot us down calling us nimbys or antis you obviously know alot more about fracking praising the industry that much your probably on there pay roll and live in Monaco

    • Martin what I’m getting at is would you and your family quite happily live at the side of a frack site ?

  6. Not many of those in Monaco, Mark.

    By the way you really need to catch up regarding Nice Sir Jim. He has several houses in other places also and a new one to be constructed overlooking the IOW. He has YET to become a Monaco tax “exile” but may, I suspect, under certain future circumstances. Quite late in the queue that has already done that but not received the speculation focus.

    (Good article regarding his sporting investments yesterday in the Times. Shock/horror it would appear it is not so much about the brand promotion as a genuine sporting interest that he can afford to indulge. Strange really, as the same message has been available for some time with a little research.)

    By the way, how many £millions have you donated to the recovery of UK wounded service personnel?

    Do you think my contributions are worthy of remuneration? Very flattering. There is a saying that once you retire you can make an income from your hobbies. I was more inclined to aim for the £5k photo award, but there is serious competition there from the “other side”!

    In answer to your question, I have lived quite close to conventional oil sites over the years, and like most, found them far better neighbours than some other industries. I would have no problem if they wanted to convert to fracking and could show they could do that safely and be good neighbours-like thousands of sites have done in USA, although not all. Not much chance of it where I live at the moment as whilst there are oil deposits (no gas) the ground is now covered in houses! However, I do have farmer friends who were dead against having wind turbines on their land but changed their minds when they realised they could get £150k net profit EACH/YEAR whether the grid wanted their output or not. Then it was a case of “where do I sign”. But you raise a good question, in a way. Families put up with cons if the pros are more significant. The frackers can’t demonstrate that until tests are far more advanced. So, the antis want to stop that happening largely for that reason using all sorts of other “motives”. I would prefer to get to that stage when a logical and common sense evaluation can be made, and therefore, much to the annoyance of some, have nothing invested. But, that does not mean I will not watch with interest and keep reminding around reality rather than fantasy.

    Cricket prep. prior to tomorrow now, so have a good weekend.

    • Mr Collyer, if Mr Ratcliffe’s sponsorship of sporting interests isn’t brand promotion then why do it under an Ineos brand?

      • Why not David?

        If you are going to spend £millions on sponsorship/team acquisition then perhaps let the public know you are doing so. (100 million Euros could be spent on a great deal more brand promotion than investing 100 million Euros in buying a football club. So, brand promotion is pretty obviously not the motivation, but of course will not be missed as an opportunity.)

        Perhaps read what I post a bit more carefully and then you could save some time replying to what you want to rather than what is posted.

        Meanwhile, others will moan about someone producing CO2 whilst they produce 0.5 tonnes themselves each year just from being alive. Then others will moan about someone producing plastic and “forget” about the 7 billion plus world population relying upon it each time they have a blood transfusion, or use a saline drip, even though on many occasions such will have been used to help increase the worlds population by 1 or more who will add their own extra CO2 production. Then you can add in the “horror” of someone making a profit from producing such products whilst I will think, that’s good so others do not have to fund that.

        And for those who don’t want roads closed, perhaps they also are happy for them not to be repaired or resurfaced to end up with a better road? Yes, there will be some, mainly the local repair garages.

        • If the argument was rely that good, why did the industry hide the fact, shale gas is for plastics? The way you have put it’s much more convincing than ‘gas for home’s in Winter 🤣😂🤣

          • frackinglawforsale

            Has Cuadrilla hidden that, or indeed INEOS?

            How does shale gas support plastic production more than North Sea gas, LNG or imported gas?

            Outwith it being cheaper than any of the above ( as a reason ).

  7. Wow you think I’m a millionare I work hard but will never be a millionaire you have me stumped pardon the cricket pun ! Lol

  8. Ineos are responsible for the plastic production and CO2 production killing our planet we all share – but they want to take all the profit and ruin our lives
    I do not see how changing the road scheme will improve our way of life – and during the road closures will have a VERY negative impact.

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