Marsh Lane inquiry June 2018

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

This page has links (in red) to detailed reports on the inquiry into INEOS Upstream’s application for a shale gas exploration site off Bramleymoor Lane, Marsh Lane in north east Derbyshire.

The company appealed against non-determination of the application. The council opposed the scheme on grounds of impacts of nighttime noise, traffic and openness of the greenbelt. Local people and community groups objected for a wider range of reasons.


Key details

The inquiry is at Market Hall, Assembly Rooms, Soresby Street, Chesterfield from 19-22 June and 26-29 June 2018.


Key people

Inspector: Elizabeth Hill

Derbyshire County Council barrister: Richard Kimblin QC

INEOS barrister: Gordon Steele QC

Eckington Against Fracking: David Kesteven and planning barrister, Charles Streetan


Inquiry posts

DrillOrDrop will add daily live news update reports here with a summary of key issues discussed.

Preview report: Inquiry into Ineos shale gas plans for Marsh Lane opens this week (17 June 2018)

Day 1: 19 June 2018 – live news updates

Key points

  • The expected nighttime drilling noise would be at least 17 decibels above the present background levels, says council expert
  • Nighttime noise at the four nearest properties to the drilling rig would have a significant adverse impact, the council says
  • Council witness says limits on development nighttime noise should take account of the background levels.
  • Ineos says the British Standard which proposes this method has been rejected by three planning inquiries
  • Residents tell the inquiry the scheme breaches their human rights

Day 2: 20 June 2018 – live news updates

Key points

  • There is no evidence that Ineos considered sites outside the Green Belt, says council planning witness
  • The Marsh Lane shale gas plans would harm the openness of the Green Belt and there are no special circumstances to justify this, says the council expert
  • The council says the Ineos proposal breaches local and national planning policy
  • County councillors stand by their opposition to the Marsh Lane scheme on highways grounds
  • Ineos says buildings on a shale gas site are not inappropriate development in the Green Belt because the government supports shale gas exploration
  • Eckington Against Fracking describes the Ineos assessment of the impact of HGV traffic as inaccurate.
  • The Ineos proposals would result in a “huge loss of local amenity” and should be refused on traffic grounds alone, says Eckington Against Fracking

Day 3: 21 June 2018 – live news updates

Key points

  • The future for Marsh Lane is not defined by the area’s industrial past, says Eckington Against Fracking witness
  • The tourist strategy and landscape regeneration is attracting visitors from across the world, EAF says
  • Tourism in north east Derbyshire provides £100m/year to the economy, EAF says
  • The Marsh Lane shale gas plan would disrupt badger foraging, EAF say
  • “This is about the worst position you could put any form of surface works”, pilot tells inquiry
  • Small local airfield could have to close for 3-6 months during drilling phase, inquiry hears
  • Questions over validity of noise monitoring from Eckington Against Fracking and errors in the application
  • Ineos should treat villagers as people not “noise-sensitive receptors”, inquiry told
  • Former MP warns of risk of subsidence

Day 4: 22 June 2018 – live news updates

Key points

  • MP Lee Rowley tells the inquiry he stands by his objection on 13 grounds:
  • It conflicts with policies to protect the openness of the Green Belt and local and national policy
  • The Ineos plan is inappropriate for Bramleymoor Lane, Marsh Lane and his constituents, he says
  • Mr Rowley says three weeks of exploratory drilling on the site in 1987 are “not comparable” with what Ineos is planning.
  • Ineos has not demonstrated that there were no other suitable sites outside the Green Belt sites.
  • Mr Rowley says an oil and gas industry executive told MPs that shale gas operations could happen in urban areas. Ineos says this is “extremely prejudicial” and should not have been raised.
  • Ineos barrister, Gordon Steele, says great weight should be given to Government support in a Written Ministerial Statement for shale gas. Mr Rowley says the statement requires decisions to be made on a case-by-case basis.
  • Emeritus professor, Peter Styles, gives evidence on risk of operations in coal field areas with pre-existing faults.
  • Ineos says his evidence goes beyond his submitted report. Professor Styles Ineos has received his presentation
  • Ineos to object over “leading” a county council witness

Day 5: 26 June 2018 – live news updates

Key points

  • Marsh Lane parents will remove their children from the village primary school if the scheme goes ahead, the head teacher says.
  • Risks of keeping residents awake at night are unacceptable, inquiry told
  • The climate impacts of the scheme should be considered, says Friends of the Earth
  • CPRE says there are no very special circumstances that justify siting the scheme in the Green Belt
  • The Ineos application has strengthened the Marsh Lane community, resident tells inquiry
  • Ineos well engineer says the proposed 60m rig would be the quietest available
  • Drilling the Marsh Lane shale gas well would cost £6m, says Ineos
  • Drilling during daytime only would cost an extra £2m and additional measures to cut noise would add another £1m, the company says
  • Tom Pickering, for Ineos, says the company has “not shied away from community engagement”
  • But admits local people have been opposed to the scheme from the beginning
  • Ineos geologist tells inquiry the shale at Marsh Lane is likely to be more productive than in other parts of the basin

Day 6: 27 June 2018 – live news updates

Key points

  • Health witness, Dr Andrew Buroni, says there are no health concerns with the Marsh Lane scheme
  • Nighttime noise would be reduced to 27db in homes with windows open and would not disturb sleep, Ineos witness tells the inquiry
  • Derbyshire County Council says preventing overnight drilling would prevent impacts of nighttime noise for nearby homes.
  • Ineos says there is no reason to refuse the Marsh Lane scheme on traffic grounds – the impact will be neutral
  • One section of the lorry route is 5.1m wide, too narrow for two HGVs to pass each other
  • The proposed lorry route already has heavy goods vehicles and the increase is not significant, Ineos traffic witness says.

Day 7: 28 June 2018 – live news updates

Key points

  • Ineos argues the shale gas well would not be inappropriate development in the Green Belt
  • But if the inspector disagrees then there are “very special circumstances” to justify the development
  • The recent Written Ministerial Statement makes clear that shale gas exploration and extraction are of national importance, Ineos says
  • The company says government support for shale gas amount to “very special circumstances to justify encroachment on the Green Belt
  • Derbyshire County Council argues that a development of a bund with a fence on top would be inappropriate development in the Green Belt
  • Ineos screened out potential sites in National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty but not in the Green Belt because of “great extent” of Green Belt in the licence and Government acceptance of drilling in the Green Belt
  • Ineos accepts the Marsh Lane scheme is a “technical” breach of the local development plan
  • Eckington Against Fracking seeks ban on drilling at night at Marsh Lane and a health impact assessment
  • Council seeks limit of three months on drilling phase
  • Nearly 50 conditions on the development discussed by the inquiry

Day 8: 29 June 2018 – live news updates of closing statements

Key points

  • Ineos says its Marsh Lane scheme should be approved because it is supported by the local development plan, government policy and other “material considerations”
  • Derbyshire County Council says the Marsh Lane plans will have substantial effect on the openness of the Green Belt and is inappropriate development with no “very special circumstances to excuse the harm”
  • Eckington Against Fracking says the scheme should be refused on traffic grounds alone. Shale gas and tourism cannot co-exist. The listening well plans turn the proposal into appraisal as well as exploration.
  • Ineos says it is not seeking costs against the council

Review of the Marsh Lane inquiry – key arguments, evidence and comment


Background reading

DrillOrDrop reports

Fourth gas plan opposed in a fortnight as Derbyshire councillors vote against Ineos shale scheme at Marsh Lane (5 February 2018)

Live updates on decision meeting – Derbyshire councillors vote to oppose Ineos shale gas plans at Marsh Lane (5 February 2018)

Derbyshire maintains highway objections to Ineos shale gas plans at Marsh Lane (4 May 2018)

Bramleymoor Lane, Marsh Lane page

Other material

Derbyshire County Council page on shale gas and hydraulic fracturing

Derbyshire County Council page on Bramleymoor Lane

Planning application

Ineos Bramleymoor Lane webpage


Reporting from this inquiry has been possible because of individual donations from DrillOrDrop readers