Opponents of shale gas have welcomed the refusal by Nottinghamshire County Council of an application by IGas for more time at its exploratory drilling site at Misson Springs. More details here.
IGas has now been ordered to restore Misson Springs, which has been mothballed since 2019.
The site is 125 metres from Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust’s Misson Carr Nature Reserve, a site of special scientific interest (SSSI).
The trusts ‘s head of nature recovery (North) Janice Bradley said:
“We’ve long stood shoulder to shoulder with campaigners and the local community to protect the wildlife of Misson Carr SSSI from operations designed to unlock huge reserves of fossil fuels, so we are delighted that sense has prevailed with today’s decision by Councillors.
We recognise that Councillors had a difficult decision to make in a finely balanced planning case, but it is reassuring that issues such as impacts on rare species in a protected nature reserve of national importance, the strain and uncertainty for local residents, and the deepening climate and ecological crises were given real weight in the Committee’s discussions.
All too often in planning decisions, commercial interests win out over the needs of communities and our shared environment, so today is definitely a good day for everyone who cares about nature and wants to see a wilder Nottinghamshire in the future.”
The campaign group, Frack Free Misson, says it was delighted by the decision.
“Bearing in mind the impacts in planning terms of letting the site be mothballed would be minimal, it was understandable, although disappointing, that the planning officers had recommended to approve the application.
“However, what they couldn’t estimate was the Planning Committee giving such a degree of consideration and weight to the community impacts. As Councillor Creamer pointed out, extensions to permissions for mineral extraction are normally quantifiable. This time they were being asked to make a decision on the hypothesis that the moratorium would in fact be lifted; there is currently no indication from government of any likelihood of that happening.
“The situation also highlighted the blind arrogance of the fracking industry which is still pursuing a business model that was built on a critical assumption that the UK geology would prove suitable. The OGA state that even ‘research proposed’ is inconsistent with government policy aims.
“In their commentary and debate, it was interesting that councillors frequently cited climate change and also recognised the shift in the energy landscape since the initial development was approved. The declaration of a Climate Emergency in May saw councillors yesterday acting with the intention to use it as a guiding principle in their decisions. Hopefully this reflects an increasing awareness among decision makers with regards the true meaning of ‘sustainability.’ The ethos of the planning system, i.e.; a presumption that any development somehow intrinsically constitutes human progress, is now being shown as fundamentally flawed and should be addressed through legislative review.
“Meanwhile local residents in Misson and supporters from across the UK and beyond have been sharing their delight at the councillors’ vote. “Just brilliant” sums it up whilst many praise the ongoing work behind the scenes by our committed group. To hold the industry to account is no mean feat. As one resident puts it: ‘Are we the mouse that roared?” Praise for the “cross-party support of our tiny village’ shows that such decisions about a small community has a global impact.”
IGas has not commented publicly on the council’s decision.