Drilling approved for potential Nottinghamshire fracking site

Nottinghamshire County Council has approved the drilling of the county’s first exploratory shale gas wells, starting a process which could lead to fracking.

The authority gave the go-ahead on Tuesday for the work on land off Springs Road, at Misson in Bassetlaw.

No hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, can be undertaken as part of the permission, but it allows a company to see if it is possible there in future.

The application by energy firm Island Gas limited has been surrounded by debate, and environmental concerns led the authority to delay a final decision in October.

Before Tuesday’s meeting dozens of protesters held a demonstration opposing the plan outside County Hall.

But the go-ahead was given, with the council’s Planning and Licensing Committee voting seven to four in favour.

The approval is subject to a legal agreement, which requires a designated route for all heavy goods vehicles servicing the site.

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Protesters opposing the plan held a demonstration ahead of the meeting.

Councillors had previously heard presentations from County Council planners, Misson Parish Council, Misson Community Action Group, Frack Free Nottinghamshire, Island Gas Ltd, UK Onshore Oil and Gas and local residents when it first met on October 5.

The planning permission comes with 37 conditions including checks on air quality, noise and water level testing.

Following the meeting, Councillor John Wilkinson, chairman of the committee, said: “We are grateful to all the members of public and groups who responded to the consultation and gave evidence to the committee.

“Ultimately, the committee concluded that the applicant was able to effectively demonstrate how they could address the planning issues within the council’s jurisdiction, such as traffic, noise and access, opening hours, the impact on residential areas and wildlife, flooding, heritage and archaeology.

“Shale gas development is very tightly regulated in the UK and requires planning permission from the council, together with approvals, checks and permits from the Environment Agency, Health and Safety Executive and the Oil and Gas Authority.”

The development site, a former Cold War missile launch site, is around two miles north-east of Misson, close to the Nottinghamshire, Doncaster and North Lincolnshire borders.

The application is for a temporary well, including the drilling of two exploratory shale gas wells to explore rock below the ground to find out if it is likely to contain shale gas.

More than 40 organisations and 2,600 people provided responses to the application. The vast majority of people who contributed objected to the application.

Some Misson residents against the plan described the decision as “raw and disappointing”.

After the decision Island Gas chief operating officer John Blaymires said the company “took its responsibility seriously” and would abide by the conditions set.

Nottinghamshire County Council has received a planning application for a similar proposal involving shale gas exploratory drilling from Dart Energy at a site off the A634 between Barnby Moor and Blyth.

Public consultation on this application closed in the summer. A provisional date of 20 December has been allocated for the application to be considered by the Planning and Licensing Committee.

 

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