Shale test drilling given green light in Derbyshire

| 20th August 2018
Fracking protest in Westminster


Fracking protest in Westminster 

Campaigners have slammed a decision to allow test drilling despite opposition from the local council over night time noise, the impact on local roads and the green belt. CATHERINE EARLY reports

Devastating news for Derbyshire and yet another example of local decisions being overturned in favour of the fracking industry.

Fracking developer and chemical firm INEOS has won an appeal over its application to build a well for test drilling in Derbyshire.

The firm applied for permission in May 2017 to erect a drilling rig up to 60 metres tall and drill around 2,400 metres below the ground, off Bramleymoor Lane near Marsh Lane in Derbyshire for a temporary period of five years. But Derbyshire County Council had not come to a conclusion by December, in breach of the allowed timescale of 16 weeks.

INEOS then took its application to government body the Planning Inspectorate (PINS), which held a public inquiry in June 2018. The council by then had decided to oppose the application, along with local campaign group Eckington Against Fracking, local MP Lee Rowley, and more than 30 members of the public.

Strong reactions

But the planning inspector concluded that, although residents near the development would suffer slightly from nighttime noise, this would not outweigh the benefits of the exploration in terms of improvements to energy resources. Other impacts could be reduced through planning conditions, she said.

Friends of the Earth tweeted: “Devastating news for Derbyshire and yet another example of local decisions being overturned in favour of the #fracking industry. Local people said no and the local council said no.”

Rebecca Long Bailey MP, Labour’s shadow business secretary, said that the decision was scandalous, and that a Labour government would ban fracking.

INEOS welcomed the decision but said that its application should not have had to go to public inquiry, which was “an unjustifiable waste of public money”. Following the test drill, the firm would have to obtain a separate environmental permit and planning permission if it wants to go ahead with fracking.

This Author

Catherine Early is a freelance environmental journalist and the former deputy editor of the environmentalist. She can be found tweeting at @Cat_Early76

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