Hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking, is a process used to remove gas and oil from shale rock deep in the ground. There are proposals to frack for shale gas across large parts of North England including Derbyshire, Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire. INEOS is a large chemical company which has the licences to frack across large areas of North East Derbyshire and Chesterfield. They need to apply for various licences and planning permission before they can frack.

Latest News: Transition Chesterfield’s Response (Sep 2018) to the Government’s plans to make exploratory drilling for fracking permitted development.

On 16 August 2018 Planning Inspector, Elizabeth Hill, gave permission to Ineos to drill and test for shale gas at Bramleymoor Lane. The site could also be used to monitor fracking nearby. Click on the link for the Appeal Decision.

This followed an 8-day planning inquiry in June held in Chesterfield  with Eckington Against Fracking and Derbyshire County Council  opposing INEOS’s planning application (application no. CM4/0517/10). Due to the very narrow terms of the Inquiry the Inspector only considered the impacts on the Green Belt, of traffic on the highway, and  the effect of night-time noise on local residents. The Inspector gave more weight to the alleged benefits of the exploration in terms of energy security.  The Inspector dismissed any objections related to fracking on the grounds that the application was for an exploratory well only.

This double standard – that the benefits of fracking were given substantial weight while the impacts were ignored – was one of the key points of Transition Chesterfield’s Statement to the Inquiry 18.06.18. Fracking is much more likely to undermine our energy security, by diverting investment away from renewable energy, and will not allow us to meet our legally binding carbon targets. By the time the investment in fracking infrastructure has taken place it is likely the cost of renewables will have fallen so much that the industry will be left with stranded assets , and thousands of blighted sites that they will be unable to restore.

Transition Chesterfield’s objection to this application was submitted in July 2017 and additional comments in Dec 2017.  We have also submitted Comments on Derbyshire’s draft Minerals Plan which will be an important consideration in any future planning decisions.

The Eckington Against Fracking objection can be found here.

Other objections and representations can be found on the Derbyshire County Council’s information page for the application.

Drill or Drop have done a helpful summary of the application.  The application is for a 2,400m vertical well in the Green Belt on the edge of the village of Marsh Lane, about 300m from the nearest homes. INEOS said the purpose was to take samples of rock to assess the prospects for shale gas in the area. The application does not include plans to carry out fracking or pressure testing.

There are also applications for exploratory wells at Harthill and Woodsetts in Rotherham district. These are also very rural areas totally unsuited for industrial activity.

There are many national charities and local groups opposed to fracking, including

Amber Valley Against Fracking, Barlborough Against Fracking, Bolsover Against Fracking, Clay Cross Against Fracking, Coal Aston and Dronfield Against Fracking,Creswell Against Fracking, Eckington Against Fracking,  Friends of the Earth, Friends of the Peak District, Greenpeace, the National TrustFrack Free South Yorkshire, Sheffield Against Fracking

Many of these groups are also supporting the Divest Derbyshire campaign to get the Derbyshire Pension Fund to divest from fossil fuels.

There are numerous concerns about the impacts of fracking locally and globally including:

• Fracking is likely to compromise the UK’s legally binding climate change targets
• Fracking poses a risk to public health
• Local impacts are likely to be extensive
• Renewables can meet all of our energy needs without fracking
• Fracking is not a bridge fuel to a low-carbon economy
• Fracking will not lower energy prices
• The environmental problems associated with fracking in the US will not be dealt with by UK’s stricter environmental laws
• Fracking will only create a small number of jobs
• The public are not supportive of fracking

More details on these can be found in the attached Fracking Briefing by Chesterfield Climate Alliance.

Friends of the Earth have also published detailed information and resources on fracking.

Sign up to the very useful Drill or Drop blog for up to date and well researched information on fracking around the UK