Ineos Shale Reveals English Midlands Timetable
With roads to fracking across Scotland’s Central Belt still blocked by an ongoing moratorium and public consultation, Ineos is pressing ahead with plans to explore for shale gas in England.
The olefins and polyolefins giant has submitted a full planning application to probe shale reserves on an area of privately owned land in northeast Derbyshire and notified the Nottinghamshire County Council that it intends to undertake a six-month shale gas survey across parts of the county beginning in early June.
For Derbyshire, the application is the first of its kind. Ineos has applied for planning permission to erect a drilling rig about 60 meters tall and drill about 2,400 meters into the ground to investigate the suitability of the rock for fracking. Depending on the outcome, it has also applied to keep the well open for monitoring purposes.
In Nottinghamshire, the Swiss-based chemical producer wants to explore an area of around 25 square kilometers. Here, planning permission is not required, as the 3D seismic survey qualifies as a “permitted development” under UK government regulations. However, the county council stressed that any further development, including test drilling, would require full planning permission.
Council planning manager, Sally Gill, told UK media that Ineos has dropped its controversial plan to survey within the Sherwood Forest National National Nature Reserve or within any other areas of special environmental interest.
A document obtained by environmentalists in January under the UK’s Freedom of Information legislation revealed that the chemical group planned to carry out surveys less than 200 meters from the Major Oak, a 1,000-year old tree in Nottinghamshire’s Sherwood Forest that according to legend sheltered Robin Hood and his merry men in the 15th century.
The UK charity National Trust campaigned vigorously against allowing seismic surveying at its historic Clumber Park in Nottinghamshire, accompanied by Ineos suggestions that it might invoke the Working Facilities and Support Act of 1966 if landowners refuse permission to survey – a procedure so long and complex it would have delayed activity considerably.