Opponents of fracking for shale gas have dismissed comments made by IGas about the role of its Misson site in Nottinghamshire in solving the energy crisis.
IGas said the site, which has one vertical well, could begin extracting gas within a year if the government lifted the moratorium on fracking in England.
It told last week’s Mail on Sunday that the site, known as Misson Springs, could produce 60-80 billion cubic feet of gas in total, if fully developed with 10 boreholes.
But Frack Free Misson, which has opposed IGas’s operations in the area for seven years, said today:
“It can only be concluded that IGas’ most recent claims regarding Misson Springs are ill-founded and incredulous at best.”
Planning permission at the site expired in 2021 and an application to extend consent was refused. The company has previously said it would restore the land later this year.
But IGas told the Mail on Sunday it could prepare a planning application within weeks and begin a commercial pilot nine months after approval if the government helped speed up the process. The extracted gas could heat up to 125,000 homes, the company said.
Frack Free Misson responded:
“The notion that fracking for shale gas will alleviate the current energy price crisis is totally without foundation.
“An increasing body of scientific evidence concludes that UK geology is unsuitable for this extreme form of energy extraction.
“IGas’ latest assertion that they could provide gas from their Misson Springs site ever, let alone within a year, is just another chapter in their book of spin and false assumptions.”
The moratorium in England was imposed in 2019 because of concerns about the predictability and control of fracking-induced seismicity. This followed series of earthquakes caused by fracking at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site near Blackpool. One measured 2.9 on the local magnitude scale, the strongest fracking-induced earthquake in the UK.
Earlier this week, the government said shale gas was “not the solution to near-term [energy] issues”. The energy minister, Greg Hands, said “it would take years of exploration and development before commercial quantities of shale gas could be produced”.
Last month, Mr Hands said the government’s position was unchanged. Fracking would not be allowed to proceed in England unless compelling new evidence was provided that addressed concerns about the prediction and management of induced seismicity.
Frack Free Misson said the industry had “spectacularly failed to prove that it can meet the conditions to have the government moratorium lifted”.
“Wrong place for shale gas extraction”
The group also said the IGas site was always the wrong place for shale gas extraction.
It is next to the Misson Carr site of special scientific interest, a breeding area for rare and protected birds.
The group said:
“In selecting the site at Misson Springs, IGas either overlooked or willfully neglected the fact that, according to their industry’s own modelling, operating fracking equipment would massively exceed the statutory noise limits in place to protect the adjacent Misson Carr nature reserve.”
Because IGas applied for consent at Misson to drill, but not frack, the noise of hydraulic fracturing could not be taken into account when planning permission was granted in 2016.
Frack Free Mission also said the pursuit of fracking, while also scaling back on home insulation and renewables, had resulted in a wasted decade for national energy.
“As a result, the current energy situation is far worse than it could have been. Now it will be hard pressed domestic consumers picking up the bill for the government and fracking industry’s folly and incompetence.”