Monday, June 18, 2018

News: INEOS re-submits application for second Rotherham test well

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On the back of a successful appeal, oil and gas exploration and production business, INEOS has re-submitted a planning application for a second test drilling well, which was previously refused by Rotherham Council's planning board.

The plans state that additional survey work has been undertaken and that the decision at the appeal shows that councillor's concerns over transport have not been backed up by evidence and that ecological reasons for refusal "would be difficult to defend."

The Government's planning inspector recently allowed an appeal for INEOS' initial plans to test for shale gas at a Green belt site at Harthill. This decision has given the firm confidence to re-submit a similar set of plans for a site at Woodsetts that were refused on similar grounds - transport and ecology.

The application would provide temporary permission for a maximum of five years and the operation would involve months of 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.

The site, which is on agricultural land at Dewidales Wood, close to Woodsetts, Rackford Farm, Anston Stones Wood (a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)) and Lindrick golf course, would be restored after the activity has taken place and tests will be carried out on the suitability of the area for hydraulic fracturing.

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The Council's ecologist considered that the first application had a significant lack of supporting data due to lack of, or incomplete surveys and as such the Council could not adequately assess the submitted details. In March, members of the planning board voted unanimously to refuse the plans on ecological grounds and also added in another reason for refusal based on highway safety.

The senior highway development control officer at Rotherham Council had ultimately been happy with INEOS' transport management plans for both Harthill and Woodsetts. At the recent inquiry into the Harthill proposals, the plannig inspector concluded: "I am satisfied that there would be no residual, cumulative and severe impacts from the proposal that would make it unacceptable on transport grounds"

Resubmitting the plans on behalf of INEOS, planning consultants, Turley said: "The Inspector has clearly made his decision based on the technical evidence, and has given little weight to the points raised by members, as these were not supported by evidence of any harm. We consider that the same approach would be adopted in respect of the highways reason for refusal proposed by members for the Woodsetts application.

"This application has been re-submitted to offer an opportunity to rectify that decision and thus to avoid the potential for a second appeal, and the associated costs claims that may be made in light of the lack of evidence behind the reason for refusal."
On ecology, INEOS states that the Council's reasons against the Harthill and Woodsetts proposals are similar and that "given the Council's position under cross examination and the ultimate withdrawal of the reason for refusal at Harthill, we consider it would be professionally very difficult to seek to defend the same reason as applied to the Woodsetts development.

"We consider that the ecology reason put forward to refuse it can no longer be substantiated. This again offers the Council the opportunity to avoid a future Inquiry and potential claims for costs based on there being no evidence to support the reason for refusal."

INEOS website

Images: INEOS / Turley

1 comments:

Anonymous,  June 18, 2018 at 4:53 PM  

Usual Ineos tactics of threats to siu for costs. Making everyone quake in their shoes ... Scotland, National Trust et al. The people v Ineos

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