Politics

Breaking: Government delays Ellesmere Port shale gas decision

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IGas site at Ellesmere Port, 21 January 2019. Photo: DrillOrDrop

The result of an appeal by IGas over plans to test a shale gas well at Ellesmere Port has been delayed.

The decision, by the local government secretary, Robert Jenrick, had been due today.

But an email from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, seen by DrillOrDrop, said:

“I am writing to confirm that, regrettably, the Secretary of State will not be in a position to publish a decision on the application today.

“I realise this will be disappointing news, and apologise for the delay in issuing a final decision on this application.

“I can assure you that we will endeavour to minimise the delay as much as possible.”

A near identical letter was sent today to participants in an appeal by Ineos over its shale gas plans for Woodsetts in south Yorkshire. A decision in that case had also been due today and has been delayed. DrillOrDrop report

Both appeals had been “recovered” in June 2019, meaning the final decision rested with the local government secretary.

DrillOrDrop has asked the MHCLG about the reason for the delays and when the decisions are expected.

A spokesperson said:

“No decision has been made yet. We are working to be able to issue the decision as soon as practically possible and have been continuing to issue planning decisions despite the current national crisis.

“We will write to the main parties with the decision when we are able and post a copy on the website at the following location: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/planning-applications-called-in-decisions-and-recovered-appeals

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Opponents of IGas’s well test plans outside Chester Town Hall, 15 January 2019, during the public inquiry. Photo: Frack Free Dee

IGas appealed against the refusal of permission by Cheshire West and Chester Council for its plans to test an existing well at Ellesmere Port in January 2018.

A key issue at the public inquiry, which ended more than a year ago, was the impact of the IGas well test on climate change. It was also the first inquiry in England to consider a shale gas site in an urban area.

Key facts and timeline on Ellesmere Port

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