Video: Hugh Casswell on the battle for Misson Springs
An application for test drilling which could lead on to fracking in Nottinghamshire has been recommended for approval.
Nottinghamshire County Council will decide next week whether to allow exploration for shale gas in Misson Springs, north Notts.
The authority’s planning officers have recommended the application, first submitted by Island Gas Limited in October last year, is approved at a meeting planned for next Wednesday, October 5.
Supporters say it could bring jobs and investment and provide a new source of energy.
But thousands of people have already objected as part of a consultation and campaigners are worried the process will damage the environment.
The site is on a former Cold War missile launch site off Springs Road, around two miles north east of Misson in Bassetlaw and close to Nottinghamshire’s border with South Yorkshire.
The application is for the development of a temporary well site, which would involve the drilling of two exploratory shale gas wells to explore the rock geology below the ground to find out if it is likely to contain shale gas.
Experts believe that the Bowland Hodder Shale, a bed of rock lying beneath northern and central England, could contain significant supplies of the gas.
Fracking involves the hydraulic fracturing of rocks by pumping water and chemicals at high pressure to release gas to be used for energy.
Supporters say it can create energy at low cost and create jobs, but many environmental campaigners have opposed it, saying it can harm wildlife and cause pollution.
Sally Gill, the council’s planning manager said: “After very careful review, planning officers have recommended to the Planning and Licensing Committee that the development is appropriate for the industrial site.
“Island Gas has been able to demonstrate how they intend to make sure that the effects of the drilling can be effectively managed to make sure they do not become unacceptable to the local area and local community.
“A recommendation for approval with 37 planning conditions and a legal agreement relating to HGV routeing is included in the report which planning officers believer will make sure that the development will fully meet the requirements of national and local planning policies.”
As part of the early consultation process, 44 organisations raised no objection, but 11 did.
And of 2,629 individual representations lodged, all but six objected.
Fracking is already widely in use in North America, and several applications are now being considered across the UK.
In a statement IGas said: “IGas has addressed the wide range of questions, concerns and comments raised by the council, statutory consultees and others. This work is reflected in the planning officer’s report together with the planning conditions proposed.
“As part of its commitment to open and transparent communications IGas has undertaken extensive community engagement alongside this application including setting up a community liaison group which was convened in June 2014.
“IGas businesses have been drilling wells and producing oil and gas safely and in an environmentally responsible manner for over 30 years and we will continue to uphold the highest standards in the future.”
If approved, the first well would be drilled vertically to around 3,500m with a further well drilled vertically and then horizontally in a southerly direction towards Misson.
David Larder, chairman of campaign group Bassetlaw Against Fracking, said: “Every community approached across the country has opposed the introduction of fracking, which will industrialise rural areas.”