Woodsetts inquiry June 2019

1904 Woodsetts WAF4

Access track to proposed Ineos shale gas site at Woodsetts. New proposals show the track lined by a 3m high, 100+m long noise barrier. Photo: Woodsetts Against Fracking

This page has links (in red) to detailed reports on the public inquiry into Ineos’s application to drill for shale gas at Woodsetts in south Yorkshire.

The company was twice refused planning permission on 8 March 2018 and 7 September 2018.  Rotherham Borough Council has defended its refusal on the grounds of noise and local amenity. Earlier this year, it dropped an objection on highway safety and traffic.


Dates: 11-14 June 2019 and 18-20 June 2019. Opening day begins at 10am

Location: Riverside House, Main St, Rotherham S60 1AE

Parties: Ineos (appellant), Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council (defendant), Woodsetts Against Fracking (Rule 6 party)

Rally: Campaigners against Ineos plans are due to gather outside Riverside House from 9am on the opening day of the inquiry (11 June 2019)

Appeal reference: APP/P4415/W/19/3220577

Link to appeal documents


190502 Woodsetts DoD9

View from the bridleway over the proposed shale gas site at Woodsetts. Photo: DrillOrDrop

Address: Land south of Dinnington Road, Woodsetts, South Yorkshire

Key facts and timeline: DrillOrDrop page


Inspector: Katie Peerless

Ineos barrister: Gordon Steele QC

Rotherham Borough Council barrister: Jon Darby

Woodsetts Against Fracking barrister: Jack Parker

Ineos witnesses: Andrew Buroni (health);  Chris Hazell Marshall (air quality) David Goold (geology); Duncan Russell (water); Kevin Martin (traffic), Luke Prazsky (environmental permitting); Matthew Sheppard (planning); Tom Pickering (operations); Paul Macrae (landscape); Steve Fraser (noise)

Rotherham Borough Council witnesses: Anthony Lowe (planning); Andrew Lockwood (landscape)

Woodsetts Against Fracking witnesses: Katie Atkinson (planning); Gerald Kells (traffic); David Sproston (noise); Richard Scholey (local impacts)

Live news updates from the inquiry

Day 1: opening statements, speeches from residents and Woodsetts Against Fracking transport evidence – 11 June 2019

Key points

  • Ineos caused consternation in Woodsetts when announced a 3m acoustic barrier running 250m in the weeks before the inquiry
  • The fence would create a sense of enclosure, campaign group says, and would need its own planning application
  • Even with the barrier, Ineos could not meet noise limits, council says
  • Ineos indicated last night that the acoustic fence may not be needed
  • Site noise would have a significant adverse impact on residents, says council, and threaten sleep disturbance
  • Site route is not safe or suitable, inquiry told
  • Ineos says the scheme is not about fracking and anti-fracking campaigners are “in the wrong place”
  • The shale gas scheme is for a very limited period, he says, and is entirely reversible, Ineos says.
  • Complaints to the inspector that residents have not been consulted on the noise barrier
  • Ineos accused of failing to communicate with people in Woodsetts
  • Resident says the site is opposed by villagers, parish council, Rotherham council and the South Yorkshire police and crime commissioner
  • Proposed bellmouth is the front drive of a Woodsetts resident, inquiry told
  • CPRE calls for the inquiry to be adjourned until people have time to see the latest evidence from Ineos – the inspector says no
  • Complaints that poor sound quality in the inquiry room is preventing some people from participating in the hearing

Day 2: Traffic evidence and more statements from residents – 12 June 2019

Key points

  • Woodsetts Against Fracking (WAF) transport witness disagrees with the council that the site access is safe and suitable access
  •  WAF’s transport witness says a road width of 6m is required for two HGVs to pass safely
  • Inquiry hears 6 out of 70 measurements of road width on the lorry route were under 6m
  • Shared access road to the proposed Ineos site is a concern, inquiry told
  • Ineos says the route to the site is safe and suitable
  • Ineos transport witness says it is not necessary to consider predicted traffic flows during school drop-off and pick-up times
  • Convoys could be used for heavy goods vehicles but the size has not been decided, Ineos tells the inquiry
  • Peak lorry movements would double on Dinnington Road, inquiry told. 
  • Ineos says this would be for a short period of time
  • Ineos transport witness declines to say where lorry staging areas would be because it is commercially-confidential information
  • Ineos has not considered pedestrian movements on the lorry route because the shale gas site would not change pedestrian movements

Day 3: More questions about traffic plus operations and health witnesses – 13 June 2019

Key points

  • Ineos witness says there are nothing in the Woodsetts project that would cause health impacts.
  • Inquiry told that the Ineos scheme would not discriminate against protected groups and a project-level equality assessment was not necessary
  • Ineos traffic witness questioned about how residents who would share the site access track would get to and from their homes.
  • Residents complain that the proposed noise barrier would block visibility of other vehicles on the access track
  • Tom Pickering, Ineos executive, says the proposed noise barrier would cost about £100,000.
  • Rig hire would cost £18,000-20,000 per day, inquiry told
  • Drilling the Woodsetts well could cost £8-£10m
  • Inquiry told the first Woodsetts heard about proposed drilling in the village were injunction notices around the site – Ineos executive apologises
  • Ineos says a condition specifying a particular rig would be wholly unreasonable
  • Residents and ward councillor complain they have not been contacted by Ineos about the Woodsetts plans 
  • More complaints about the late submission of a proposed noise barrier

Day 4: Evidence on noise and sound barrier – 18 June 2019

Key points

  • Council witness says Ineos should have submitted noise mitigation measures at the time of the planning application
  • Noise levels in Berne Square gardens from construction of the access track would be absurd, council witness tells inquiry
  • Even with proposed 3m barrier, noise would exceed guidelines limits, inquiry told
  • Ineos proposal for nighttime noise of 42db is too high, council noise expert says
  • Council says the nighttime noise limit should be 37db – Ineos says this will impose an unreasonable burden
  • Ineos noise expert says 3m sound barrier would be best practice
  • Woodsetts Against Fracking background noise survey records levels much lower than the Ineos survey – Ineos says the WAF survey does not meet guidelines
  • Woodsetts Against Fracking says there is potential for complaints from nighttime noise of 35db
  • Ineos noise witness agrees that he would not have recommended an access track as close as is proposed to sheltered housing at Berne Square in Woodsetts

Day 5: Planning evidence and public statements – 19 June 2019

Key points

  • A condition that prevents a scheme going ahead would be an unreasonable burden, says Ineos
  • The sound barrier measuring 3mx270m would have an adverse effect on openness in the Green Belt
  • But it would meet planning policy guidelines, the council planning witness says
  • Woodsetts scheme with barrier is inappropriate development in the Green Belt, says council planning witness
  • Woodsetts Against Fracking does not have a membership for self protection following Ineos injunction, witness tells inquiry
  • Ineos compares garden fairy lights to rig illumination
  • Woodsetts residents are already experiencing stress from the Ineos plans

Day 6: Evidence on planning issues – 20 June 2019

Key issues

  • Council landscape officer considers Woodsetts scheme will “probably” damage openness of the Green Belt, Ineos concedes
  • CPRE says significant local impacts outweigh limited national benefits and  the appeal should be dismissed
  • Flawed site selection has caused noise issues at the Woodsetts site, inquiry told
  • No evidence on whether alternative site access has been considered
  • People were disadvantaged because they were not consulted on the barrier, inquiry told
  • Impacts from the scheme will have a bigger impact on people living in Berne Square sheltered housing because of their vulnerabilities, Ineos accepts
  • Ineos says there is no justification for a condition limiting lorry movements during school pick-up and drop-off times 


190530 Woodsetts screen plan

Revised plans for the Woodsetts site entrance and a noise barrier. Source: Ineos proof of evidence to the public inquiry

Recent DrillOrDrop articles

On eve of public inquiry, Sir Kevin Barron MP backs #IamWoodsetts campaign against Ineos shale drilling plans (10 June 2019)

Woodsetts objects to impact of Ineos proposed “great wall” noise barrier around shale gas site (30 May 2019)

Council drops highways objection to shale gas drilling at Woodsetts (14 March 2019)

Ineos appeals against Woodsett shale gas refusal (10 January 2019)

Refusals of planning permission 8 March 2018 and 7 September 2018

Ineos announces application to drill for shale gas and carry out transient pressure test at Woodsetts (8 August 2017)