Monday, October 30, 2017

News: Rotherham fracking plans heading for refusal?

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Rotherham Council is currently minded to recommend the refusal of planning permission for a shale gas test drilling well in Harthill, having raised concerns over access to the Greenbelt site.

A special meeting of the planning board was pencilled in for November 23 to decide on the application due to the fact that over 1,000 objection representations have been received, but this may not now go ahead.

INEOS' oil and gas exploration and production business selected a site between the villages of Harthill and Thorpe Salvin for shale gas exploration, which involves building a drilling rig and drilling vertically, deep into the ground to find out how much gas is in the shale.

The application would provide temporary permission for a maximum of five years and the operation would involve various site investigation surveys and site preparation before a period of drilling, coring and testing. A well would be drilled to approximately 2,800 m using a drill rig of maximum 60 m rig height followed by three months of testing. It would use large plant, machinery and HGVs in site development and operationally.

The Common Road site would be restored after the activity has taken place and tests will be carried out on the suitability of the area for hydraulic fracturing (fracking).

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Chris Wilkins, development manager at Rotherham Council, said: "We might not be on for that [the 23rd] because we've got a problem with the access from our point of view and we are looking to recommend it for refusal.

"The applicants are wanting to come back and discuss that with us a bit further which means that we wouldn't be able to get it on for the 23rd. We are pressing them to give us an extension of time until probably the end of January, or the beginning of February it is more likely to be."

The project is expected to generate 70 total daily movements with 60 HGV movements for a period during site development and establishment and the drilling, coring and pressure transient testing stage.

Ian Ferguson, senior highway development control officer, said: "The Traffic Management Plan (TMP) and Route Management Strategy (RMS) submitted as part of the application were not considered to provide adequate mitigation in terms of protecting the safety of other road users along the intended route (Packman Lane and Common Road)."

The Council is concerned over road safety regarding "the introduction of a significant number of additional large commercial vehicles along these narrow country lanes."

Some of the vehicles visiting the site would be abnormal loads and are wider than the roads currently available when measured between boundary hedges.

Further mitigation has been discussed between the council and applicants and includes setting up one way traffic diversions so that convoys approaching/leaving the site would travel when the one way working was in operation and other road users would be required to follow the diversion route during these periods.

Rotherham Councillors recently passed a motion to ban any fracking related activity on Council land.

INEOS website

Images: Google Maps

1 comments:

Anonymous,  October 30, 2017 at 6:06 PM  

Be careful. Cuadrilla have been breaching planning since they began work in Jan 2017. They have ignored deadlines and cost our county 450,000 per month policing due to the local community and council rejecting turning our agricultural land into gas fields. Cuadrilla may have won the appeal but it will never be accepted here.
The Govt.s own recently commissioned future energy report makes no allowances for shale gas and states clearly we are energy secure until 2050.

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