Dates for DCC and Planning Inspectorate

Remember, deadlines for comments to the Planning Inspectorate is 2nd February 2018. more info on the previous two posts – just scroll down and you will find the links to the earlier post. 

The Planning Inspectorate have set the dates for the Public Enquiry for the Bramleymoor Lane application.

The start date is TUESDAY 19 JUNE.

The enquiry is expected to last 8 days, so that’s Tue 19 – Fri 22 and Tues 26 – Fri 29 (apparently they don’t like Mondays!)

 

News from Eckington against Fracking – “DCC Regulatory Planning Committee are meeting on 5th Feb in order to approve the councils “view” on the 1st planning application. The outcome of the meeting will be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate and will form the DCC formal view of the 1st the application.

The meeting agenda and papers (as is the normal process) have been put up on the DCC meeting website today. Please see the link here to view the document (81 pages long!)
https://www.derbyshire.gov.uk/…/regula…/planning/default.asp

EAF asked to make representation at the meeting but unfortunately DCC have decreed that the public will not be heard. Anyone can go and listen to the proceedings but are not permitted to speak. This is in stark contrast to the Rotherham council’s management process for Harthill,” where RMBC stated that they refused permission.

 

So please, please get writing/emailing in to the Planning Inspectorate – 3 copies if you are sending by post.

 

 

Marsh Lane update – URGENT ACTION NEEDED

PLEASE NOTE NEW DATES FOR UPCOMING MEETINGS – SEE MENU

It’s been a while since the last post, and things have moved on, though a final date has not been set for the original INEOS planning application, due to the time taken to process the 4000+ objections to the application submitted to Derbyshire County Council (DCC) last year.

INEOS have since then decided to have a two pronged attack. Firstly, they referred the original application to the Planning Inspectorate (PI), an independent body who will decide on whether INEOS can try to drill an exploratory well at Marsh Lane, or whether they agree with all those people who wrote in, in that it is a wholly unsuitable place to be drilling in any way. This will be done via public inquiry.

Then, INEOS submitted another planning application to DCC for the same site. This application will probably be substantially the same as the previous one, but most likely has been altered in some way to reflect their responses submitted back in December with regard to DCC’s consulation.

Therefore, you need to do two things as soon as possible, and encourage as many people as you can to do the same.

  • Firstly, if you kept a copy of your original objection, then submit it to the Planning Inspectorate before the 2nd February. This can be done online here: https://acp.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/ViewCase.aspx…. Just click on the box “Make Representation” at the top-right of the page and then follow the instructions. It’s very easy to use. Alternatively, you may wish to send in your objections by post (3 copies are required): Leanne Palmer, The Planning Inspectorate, Major Casework, 3/0 Kite Wing, Temple Quay House, 2 The Square, Temple Quay, Bristol, BS1 6PN. According to the website, the closing date for representations is 2nd February at the latest. Please remember to clearly state the Case Number APP/U1050/W/17/3190838, and the site address (Land off Bramleymoor Lane, Marsh Lane, Eckington, Derbyshire)

 

  • Secondly, please submit your objection again to Derbyshire County Council, but this time, writing to object to the new application (CM4/1217/72). There is no date set yet for this application, but it is likely to be 21 days after the statutory publication of the Notice of Application in the Derbyshire Times. Keep an eye out on the DCC webpage for details:
    https://www.derbyshire.gov.uk/…/applicatio…/app-details.asp… For all of us who filed objections to the first application, there is no reason why we should not re-submit the same identical objections to this second application. If you didn’t keep a copy, don’t worry, you can use the objections on the grounds of access, light pollution, noise, air pollution, traffic etc on the previous post, but make sure you don’t use that particular application number, or any of the links relating to the 2017 application. The post can be found by scrolling below, or here: https://dronfieldagainstfracking.wordpress.com/2017/07/15/how-to-object-to-marsh-lane-exploratory-drilling/ . You can pick and choose which bits you want to use, and you can of course send in multiple objections, one per point, if that’s how you would prefer it.

It is really important that you send in your objections – if we don’t get our objections in, it increases the possibility that the second Application might be granted; in which case, INEOS might even withdraw their appeal to the Planning Inspectorate, thus denying us a full Public Enquiry.  Please also speak to as many people as possible, and get them to send their objections in.

You can send in objections by email to: Development.Management@derbyshire.gov.uk or by post to: Planning Dept, Derbyshire County Council, County Hall, Matlock, Derbyshire, DE4 3AG.

All objections must quote “Planning Application in respect of land adjacent to Bramleymoor Lane, near Marsh Lane” and the Application number which is CM4/1217/72. As before, you must also start your letter or email by saying you wish to object to the Application, and conclude by saying that you ask the Council to reject this Application.

I will update this post with dates as they become available.

How to object to Marsh Lane exploratory drilling

ETA – there is still no date set for the consideration of this application, so there is still time to email/post your objections in. Let’s keep up the pressure.

This is the FIRST application submitted by INEOS in North East Derbyshire. INEOS are looking to explore for shale gas in over a large area of North East Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and South Yorkshire.

PEDL

INEOS’s Petroleum Exploration and Development Licence (PEDL) areas.

You can view the application documents on the Derbyshire County Council website (link here)

Planning application reference:  CM4/0517/10: Submitted by INEOS UPSTREAM LTD, for planning permission to drill a vertical hydrocarbon exploratory core well, land adjacent to Bramleymoor Lane, near Marsh Lane, Eckington.

The planning application consists of 5 separate phases (timings provided by INEOS):

Phase 1 – Site Development and Establishment – approximately 3 months.

Phase 2 –   Drilling and Coring – approximately 3 months.

Phase 3 –   Establishment as a Listening Well and Suspension – approximately 1 week with the suspended well in place until restoration.

Phase 4 –   Undertaking Listening Well Operations – up to 3 weeks as required.

Phase 5 –   Abandonment and Restoration – approximately 1 month.

However, INEOS are quite open about the fact that if analysis of results show that there is viable gas accessible via the site, they will be applying for permission to drill horizontally to frack, leading to more wells if this proves financially recoverable.

wsells

Image showing  the hypothetical INEOS gas field covering NE Derbyshire – each blue dot is a well pad, each containing approx 12 wells each, 30 pads, 396 wells per 38 square mile. Credit – “Andy”

If you haven’t objected yet, now’s your chance. All objections from any person or Group are considered. Objections from those living near to the development have most weighting.

How to object

To object you can do 1 of the following:

Your letter or email must include:

  • The Application Reference Number: CM4/0517/10.
  • Your name, address and postcode (Objections without a postcode will not be considered)

Send in your objections as soon as possible. The closing date is 10 August 2017

Beginning

We suggest you begin by saying that you are writing to object to the application, and add a couple of sentences about yourself, e.g. where you live, what you do for a living, what your interest is in the application, why you are concerned, your connection to Bramleymoor Lane, Marsh Lane, etc.

If you live near the well-site, please state what it is about the application that you are concerned about, e.g. the impact on your village, traffic, the impact on local roads/landscape, effect and the local economy, etc. You could also say something about how worried you are about how this work will impact on your daily life.

If you live in another part of the UK (or in another country) you can mention any connection you have with Marsh Lane or the East Midlands – for example, you might visit the area regularly on holiday, or because you have family or friends in the area, and whether or not it would make you more or less likely to visit the area on holiday if the proposals are approved and developed.

Local Knowledge

Local knowledge and experience are very important when campaigning against a planning application. So if you have any experiences to relate regarding living near a well-site (such as noxious smells, previous disruption, a negative effect on your health, work going on outside permitted hours, or anything else that has had any impact on your daily life, no matter how large or small), please include this in your objection. This sort of information is vital to help the Planning Officer make their recommendation.

INEOS

Also, if you have had any other direct experience or problems when dealing with INEOS – for example, you have been to any of their consultations or talks, or have had any direct contact with the company and its employees, then please include this in your objection.

Equally important are any instances that have occurred where you have not been kept informed about the development of the site. Please include any documentation – e.g. emails, leaflets, photographs, etc. – that can back up your comments, as this sort of information is helpful for the Planning Officer to decide whether or not the company can be trusted to undertake the work that it has applied for.

Key points

Please put the below into your own words – perhaps by rephrasing the points in your own way or using the information in the bullet points to form a paragraph. You can also change the order of the points if you prefer, or choose the ones that you feel most concerned about. You don’t have to include all the points, and please make additional points you feel would support your objection, as described below:

lorry

(lorries on Dyche Lane – photo credit “Andy”)

Traffic and impact on Highway issues

  • There will be a significant rise in the volume of traffic – up to100 lorry movements a day during site construction and up to 50 during drilling
  • This traffic will travel along country roads – the unsuitably narrow Snowden Lane and Eckington Road, the B6056 and Dyche Lane.
  • This will result in increased noise pollution, air pollution from traffic fumes, and damage to verges and pavements.
  • There will be a greater risk of traffic accidents – children, pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders.
  • The identified site of the site access gateway is on a single-carriageway road which has a 60mph speed limit, and the difficulties this is likely to cause for locals, whether on foot, on horse, in vehicles.
  • The route via Dyche Lane/Eckington Road junction involves manoeuvring around a min-roundabout, which will be un-navigable by HGV’s without serious traffic disruption, parking restrictions and great inconvenience to local residents.

map3

Close up of site from INEOS’s planning application. Note the road access and the two farms close to the site.

Pollution – noise, light and air

  • The application mentions the work schedule, and it can be stated with conviction that vibration and noise from the greatly increased traffic and 24 hours a day drilling over several months is likely to affect a large area, resulting in sleep disturbance and increased stress and poor mental health for local residents.
  • There will be further noise from compressors, pumps and the large number of heavy vehicle movements.
  • In addition to the noise and air pollution, you can emphasise how there will be serious light pollution from night working and security, adversely affecting local residents and wildlife. There will also be air pollution from ozone, hydrocarbons, dust and venting/flaring of methane.

Location

map1

Map of site and location in relation to Upper Handley and Marsh Lane.
  • Amazingly, the proposed site is quite close to a school (and all the issues that will incur) and less than 300 metres away from housing. The proposal is in a green belt and really doesn’t fit with the tenets of sustainable development.
  • The proposed Bramleymoor Lane site is surrounded by known old mine workings, and likely near unmarked, unmapped older ones. Clearly, drilling poses a threat of collapsing mines and release of gaseous build-up, including radon.

Of course, we are limited to objecting to the application with regard to exploratory drilling, not fracking, but I don’t think there is any issue with mentioning that you are concerned that exploratory drilling for shale gas will open the way for large scale exploitation of the NE Derbyshire countryside by INEOS, and beyond into South Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire.

Fracking of these areas introduces the potential for water and air pollution and harm to wildlife and natural habitats. It will also make it harder to reduce our carbon emissions and meet climate change targets.

The more personalised your objection is, the more powerful it will be.

Any other views you have about the proposed development are valid and are called Material Considerations.

Examples of types of issues appear below, but are not exhaustive.

Air quality and dust: Dust from construction activities; Particulate from HGVs; Particulates from generators; CO2 emissions (climate change); Air quality and perceived health effects on children, chronic sick

Increased traffic: ­­­Road safety; suitability of roads for HGVs; Vehicle access; Car parking for site workers; Airports; Impact on cyclists, horse riders, walkers etc

Visual impact on the local and wider setting: Visitors to the site; walkers; people tending to their animals; horse riders; cyclists; Plant & Machinery; Litter; Hard standing; Height of structures; Scale of development & proximity to residents & animals

Lighting: Night time lighting; Effect on animals, birds etc.

Noise: Night time operations; 24/7 drilling; Effects on children, elderly people, sick people; Soil stripping operations; Distance from homes, schools, animals; Traffic noise (night); Plant Machinery.

Nature conservation: Protected species & habitats; Light; Dust; Noise; is the planning sustainable (If not should it be built on green belt land)

Health & Wellbeing: Anything that you think has or will impact upon your Mental Health or Physical Health; Any concerns that you may have regarding Health.

Land contamination

Soils and impact on agricultural land and green belt; loss of both.

Geology: Old mines; Faults.

Site restoration and aftercare: Responsibility for restoration; Responsibility for any latent / long term adverse effects.

Ultimately, you should ask Derbyshire County Council to reject this application, and tell them if you wish to be informed of the outcome.

Finally, please share this page on Facebook and Twitter

IT ALL STARTS WITH JUST ONE WELL …

(And if you don’t know what all the fuss about fracking is, spend 5 minutes watching this TED Ed video, just to give you a calm, concise view):

Objecting to exploratory drilling

As previously mentioned, there is a planning application currently going through County Council processes for exploratory drilling at Bramleymoor Lane, Marsh Lane. This is an important stage in information gathering for the owners of the exploratory licence, to decide where is feasible/profitable to frack. No information, no way of knowing where is the best place. So…

…it is important that as many objections as possible are raised to this application. We need thousands. Here are some examples of valid material objections to planning permission:

• Scale, appearance and design of the proposal
• Impact on residential amenity
• Impact on the character of the area
• Effect on nature conservation and trees
• Effect on highway safety and parking
• Effect on Conservation Area or Listed Buildings
• Appearance (design, materials to be used etc)
• Impact on existing residents, for example overlooking, loss of light etc (residential amenity)
• Traffic, parking or access problems from the completed development
• Drainage problems
• Contrary to Planning Policies (National or Local)

If you, together with family members and friends each send a letter, we can get those numbers UP! Ask your neighbours, hairdresser, butcher, receptions at the dentists… you get the message!

I’m working on a post that gives a bit more guidance on the specific objections to the application, but that will hopefully be later this week.

Another petition

This time, it’s petitioning Teresa May directly, with regard to the sweeping away of planning regulations with regard to exploratory drilling. Just in case you didn’t see it, the fracking reference in the Conservative manifesto  is shown below, contrary to the majority of other parties’ manifestos which called for a ban.

manifesto

Firstly, the link to the petition: https://www.change.org/p/theresa-may-mp-do-not-deny-our-democratic-right-to-say-no?source_location=minibar

Then just a few counter-comments for the manifesto statements:

  1. “Shale is clearer than coal” – Alas not. It’s all about the leaks. Methane is much much worse for the environment.  Link here and here
  2. “Maintain public confidence in the process” – there is no public confidence, so they need to build it, not maintain it.
  3. “Uphold our rigorous environmental protections” – if they continue to under-fund key agencies for environmental protection, who will be checking if the frackers are sticking to the rules?
  4. Shale Wealth Fund – INEOS are well known for moving their headquarters out of the UK to Switzerland to avoid tax, so what makes the government think they will actually be declaring sufficient profits to share the wealth?
  5. Permitted development – like a garden wall. How can an exploratory well be the same as building a garden wall? Does that mean that we will all be allowed to build extensions now without planning permission?
  6. “Where communities decide that it is right for them” – so i) you’ve just informed us that we won’t get a say anyway, as the planning will go through the National Planning Regime (?) ii) does that mean that if we say no, and you frack us anyway, that we won’t get anything?

Please, sign the petition, write to object, come to our next meeting and spread the word. It’s a numbers game.

Marsh Lane exploratory drilling

INEOS have submitted a planning application for an exploratory well at Bramleymoor Lane, Marsh Lane. You can read about it at this link here. The full application is at this link here.

There hasn’t been a deadline put on this application yet, as the Council are still waiting to hear from the Secretary of State about whether an Environmental Impact Assessment should be carried out by INEOS.

I hope to have some guidance on what sort of material objections can be used for objecting to this application very soon. We must bear in mind when writing our objections – this application is for exploratory drilling, and the processes involved in that, NOT fracking. If you mention fracking in your objections, the objection may be disregarded.

 

An open letter part 4

An open letter from members of Dronfield Against Fracking to residents of S18.

Part 4 of 4 (intended in part as a response to the contents of Natascha Engel’s letter in the Dronfield Eye/on-line)

(It’s long – no apologies, it took me a good long while to write this!)

Short term solutions
Like the short-term job creation, shale gas is only ever a short term solution, and well productivity declines rapidly after the first few months, necessitating the creation of more wells. This is another reason why HVHF is seen as an extreme form of fossil fuel exploitation. It is difficult to understand why the government are choosing to forge ahead with such a damaging process, when there are other more sustainable methods of generating energy than burning gas.

Recently published Governmental figures for the mix of electricity production shows numbers far from the 7% quoted recently by Ms Engel and Ineos. For UK electricity production, 42.4% is produced by burning gas, 9.1% coal, 21.2% nuclear and 24.4% renewable. The interesting figure to me is that gas. Why are we burning 42.4% gas to produce electricity? We could bring more renewables on line, quickly and safely, and reduce this figure, improving our low carbon generation (essential to keep in line with the Paris agreement) from the 45.6% that was produced last year from nuclear and renewables.

In addition, the same document contains figures of production, export and import that also make interesting reading. The UK generates (produces) 476.7 Twh of gas. It exports 124.8 Twh, but then imports 521.6 Twh. Why? Of this overall figure, 873.5Twh, 307.2Twh is used domestically for heating and cooking, and 295Twh is used for electricity generation. The remainder is used by industry. Therefore, we could reduce our imports by stopping exports, and minimising gas used for electricity generation, whilst investing in domestic energy conservation, energy storage and tidal production.

Regulations and risks
A phrase that is repeated by those who are pro-fracking is “shale gas extraction process poses a low risk to human health if properly run and regulated”. We have already seen Ineos’s attitude to safety at their site at Grangemouth, and what happens when industrial waste is discharged into a shipping canal (Cuadrilla, 2014). Following this incident, the Environment Agency then changed its regulations on the designation of fracking waste, but only after the mistake was made, and pollution created. The regulatory processes are being adjusted as they go along, to cope with issues that arise, but should this technology be used at all? There is too much at stake, and after all, regulations do not control the behaviour of high pressure fluids in faulted underground strata.

Are we to wait for other mistakes to happen, in order to ensure that the regulations are tight enough to protect us on this island? Where are the inspectors to come from? Or are we to trust the firms’ self-regulation? Why, when many countries are banning this process, or having moratoria, is our government deciding that we can be the next set of guinea pigs to test out where the “gold standard” level should be set to?

And if we are to be the guinea pigs, then why are companies avoiding doing a proper Environmental Impact Assessment each time? Why are they not made to do one? We cannot see the effects of a process if we do not take a baseline measurement and continue to measure throughout and beyond.

Where will the funding come from for essential independent baseline monitoring – recent experiences with target sites Kirby Misperton and Preston New Road shows us that each site has been monitored very differently by the BGS purely due to funding, with only Kirby Misperton being tested for radon baselines.

What does this promise for Marsh Lane and Harthill and beyond? Radon is a known risk in this area. PHE said further research was needed to monitor radon levels in the gas, in people’s homes and in groundwater around fracking wells, so why aren’t these agencies being funded to provide that monitoring and that reassurance that this process is safe?

There is a rising community of people across the UK and worldwide who are determined to stop this polluting technology being used, and are working together to support each other in our fight against the imposition of this extreme fossil fuel extraction method. If fracking is absolutely safe, then show us the evidence. Otherwise, the precautionary principle must be used.

Ineos, you have not proved to us that fracking is safe or even necessary, other than to fuel your plastics production.

An open letter part 3

An open letter from members of Dronfield Against Fracking to residents of S18.

Part 3 of 4 (intended in part as a response to the contents of Natascha Engel’s letter in the Dronfield Eye/on-line)

Fracking in general

Protecting the Environment
Fracking has been touted as a more environmentally friendly solution to coal, however, this doesn’t really apply to the UK, as most coal plants will have closed by the time that fracking becomes established. Regardless, a recent report by Paul Mobbs states that fracking should no longer be considered as a bridging mechanism for transition to a low carbon energy generation. The author reviewed the research that this bridging concept was based on, the Mackay-Stone report, and has shown that it is fundamentally flawed.

Furthermore, to suggest that gas extracted by Ineos will be used to help “keep the lights on” is totally misleading. They plan to use the gas for their plastics manufacturing plant in Grangemouth, many of which are not reusable or recyclable, yet another contribution to environmental pollution.

Water usage
Between 10-40% of the water used in fracking returns to the surface as flowback – the rest is thought to remain within the fracked rock, effectively removing it from circulation. The returned water can contain massive amounts of brine (salts), toxic metal compounds, and naturally occurring radioactive materials. Where and how will this be transported, treated and disposed of? All these steps further add to the risks
created by this industry.

Ground water contamination
The areas targeted for fracking have aquifers spread throughout. The 2015 Environmental Audit on the risks of fracking state that “It is critical that groundwater is protected from contamination.” The Environment Agency’s Groundwater protection: Principles and practice state that “damage to groundwater may be irreversible, and that the precautionary principle must be followed.” This means that if an action or policy has a suspected risk of causing harm to the public, or to the environment, in the absence of scientific consensus (that the action or policy is not harmful), the burden of proof that it is not harmful falls on those taking that action, namely Ineos.

Impact on communities
Public Health England’s 2013 study on the impacts of fracking on communities was effectively a review of the scientific literature available at the time, and completely disregarded socio-economic impacts. However, the number of peer-reviewed publications on the impacts of fracking doubled between 2011 and 2012 and then doubled again between 2012 and 2013. More studies were published in 2014 than in 2009 – 2012 combined, and in the last 2 years have increased again. Yet the PHE report, which must now be considered as outdated and substandard in its scope, is still being quoted as an authoritative document by the government in its case for shale gas development, despite being described by the British Medical Journal as ‘a leap of faith without scientific foundation’. An updated review of all of the available evidence is essential before we go “all out for gas”.

Many medical professionals and concerned scientists are saying that there are poorly understood and potentially serious health risks associated with fracking. Medact stated in 2016 that” that the absence of an independent social, health and economic impact assessment of shale gas production at scale is a glaring omission” They also state that”given the availability of alternative sources of energy, these are grounds for placing an indefinite moratorium on shale gas production (a position adopted by many jurisdictions across the world) until such time that there is greater clarity and certainty about the relative harms and benefits of shale gas.” We would call for an outright ban, but for the same reasons.

“Unlikely incidents”
All through reports on fracking, there is much talk of very “unlikely incidents”, such as tremors, or well casing failures. Both these have happened in the UK in the first attempt for drilling and fracking, which hardly seems to conform to the idea of just how unlikely they are. However, the current Government has decided that it will continue its support of the oil and gas industry through large subsidies, whilst continuing to withdraw support for the very necessary renewables industry, where at least 20,000 jobs are thought to have already been lost across the UK because of the cuts.

Part 4 to follow.

An open letter part 2

An open letter from members of Dronfield Against Fracking to residents of S18.

Part 2 of 4 (intended in part as a response to the contents of Natascha Engel’s letter in the Dronfield Eye/on-line)

Local impacts of the drilling at Marsh Lane.

Lorry movements
Natascha Engel’s letter to the residents of S18 stated that her main concerns were the lorry movements, and the route they will take through Coal Aston to Marsh Lane. Indeed, it should concern us, as the route is badly planned and clearly lacks local knowledge of traffic issues. However, to suggest that the lorry movements involved in fracking are comparable to those supplying a supermarket is disingenuous to the extreme. Supermarket lorries are not carrying large amounts of hazardous industrial waste through residential areas and over long distances to be processed.

Proximity of housing
The planned drilling site is less than 300metres away from residential properties. Over 3 months of 24 hour light pollution and considerable noise pollution from the site is indeed a concern, but they are certainly not the only factors to consider here. What about other forms of pollution such as dust, exhaust fumes, radioactive materials? In addition, routine venting of wells releases large volumes of noxious compounds, including toxic hydrogen sulphide. This has been clearly demonstrated at Horsehill in Surrey and West Newton in East Yorkshire.

Add to that the ongoing stress and anxiety caused by the threat of drilling and fracking to the local community. It is recognised that fear and anxiety about possible public health impacts is capable of being a material planning consideration.

Instead of looking for ways to minimise the impact on local housing, we should be asking WHY does the well have to be sited so close to residential properties. If it was sited further away, then the noise and light impacts would be reduced. John Mann, MP for Bassetlaw has said that these processes should not be carried out within 2 kilometres of a village or town. And why are communities not consulted until after the deal has been done with landowners? Imposition is NOT consultation.

Jobs
Local jobs created by HVH Fracking are likely to be low number, low in income, short term jobs in the service industry, which will disappear as soon as the gas flow starts to slow down, essentially after the first few years. As for Ineos buying the drills from PR Marriott, there is a large company in Poland that is selling off its drilling rigs as it has withdrawn from the market, and rumours circulating that there is an interested buyer from the UK. Ineos will always put their corporate interests before those of local people.

Socio-economic impacts
It seems that Ms Engel has not considered the adverse socio-economic impacts that are already being felt by her constituents in Marsh Lane. Similar impacts can also be seen around the site of the Preston New Road site in Lancashire, where installation of a drilling rig is currently being imposed on the local community – average house prices have dropped by 13.2% between Nov 2016 and Jan 2017, against a national average of 1%.

Add to that the impact on tourism, upon which many local businesses depend. How will the visitors to the Peak Resort at Unstone feel when they find out about the potential for NE Derbyshire to be turned into a gas field? Dronfield and the surrounding areas have a mining past, but their green spaces have recovered well from the heavy industry that once polluted the air, water and land. Why would we want to turn back the environmental progress, and put agricultural and recreational economies at risk?

Parts 3 and 4 follow shortly.

An open letter part 1

An open letter from members of Dronfield Against Fracking to residents of S18.

Part 1 of 4 (intended in part as a response to the contents of Natascha Engel’s letter in the Dronfield Eye/on-line)

With the planning applications for exploratory drilling and a permit for waste disposal at Bramleymoor Lane, Marsh Lane now submitted, it seems opportune to counter a few pieces of misinformation and put forward a bit more reasoning as to why High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing (HVH Fracking) is such a bad idea.

Contrary to recent statement by local candidate, Natascha Engel, HVH Fracking has not been used since 1940 to extract oil and gas. Fracking was developed in 1947 but the High Volume version was first used in 1973. Horizontal wells were used in the late 1980’s. But the higher pressure slickwater version was first used in 1997 – only twenty years ago.
Conventional oil and gas extraction only uses one well to tap a source of fossil fuels in porous rock over a very wide area. The HVH process itself means that several wells must be drilled at each pad to become productive, and that there must be pads drilled consecutively to maintain production – Ineos’s plans for the region involve 30 pads, containing 396 wells, per 38 square miles. Each one of these will use large quantities of water and generate waste and pollution.

HVH Fracking has only happened once in this country – at Preece Hall, and led to two earthquakes, one strong enough to deform the well bore, which halted work on this site and abandonment of the well. Unfortunately, those considering the applications as part of the planning process have to separate the exploratory drilling process from fracking – this should not be the case. It is clear that without this exploratory drilling (and 3D seismic testing also due to take place in the local area imminently) fracking cannot take place. Once the exploratory drilling has been done, landowners will be persuaded to allow access to their lands, “in the national interest”, and INEOS will follow with a slew of applications for drilling their wells.

Parts 2, 3 and 4 follow over the next three days.