East Midlands site green light for shale gas exploration

16th November 2016 | Commercial Energy

Shale gas exploration company iGas has been granted permission to drill for shale gas in the East Midlands. There are two sites which have the planning permission at Misson, with a third UK site to be approved this year.

This is the first step towards the site being potentially fracked in the future. Nottinghamshire council, in the East Midlands, approved the shale gas exploration for two wells by a vote of seven to four. The decision is another boost for the shale gas industry, marking the UK’s third site to be approved for exploration this year.

Friends of the Earth successfully delayed the council’s decision by arguing that approval would be an illegal act. The shale gas exploration site is next to a protected nature site. Planning officials told councillors that a covenant relating to the Site of Special Scientific Interest was not material to the planning process.

Anti-fracking campaigners held a demonstration outside county hall where the application was considered, and environmentalists criticised the approval.

Chris Crean, Friends of the Earth’s West Midlands campaigner, said, “This is a very disappointing decision from the county council. This proposal failed to comply with many requirements and should have been refused for the negative impacts it would have on the local environment, including the protected wildlife site, the Misson training area Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
“Just a couple of weeks after the Paris climate change agreement came into force, pursuing extreme methods to get more fossil fuels out of the ground like this is completely wrong.”

Unlike fracking sites approved in Lancashire and Yorkshire earlier this year, iGas will need to make a further planning application if it wants to employ hydraulic fracturing – fracking – to recover shale gas at the former cold war missile base.

Stephen Bowler, CEO of iGas, said: “I am pleased that the committee has made this positive determination following the recommendation by the planning officer. It has been a long process and everyone has been extremely thorough.”

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