Calling Rotherham Planners to reject INEOS fracking application

23rd Jan 2018

Ahead of the Rotherham Borough Council planning committee hearing this Thursday, we have joined with Friends of the Earth and  local community groups Harthill Against Fracking and Eckington Against Fracking to call on Rotherham planners to reject the application by chemicals giant INEOS to conduct exploratory drills for shale gas near the village of Harthill in South Yorkshire.

This is the first application for exploratory drilling by INEOS to be considered by a local planning committee in England. The company has ambitious plans to drill numerous fracking wells across the Midlands and North of England. INEOS has also applied to conduct test drills near Eckington (Derbyshire) and Woodsetts (also in Rotherham) - both within 10 miles of the Harthill site and due to be considered by local planners shortly.

INEOS has also recently applied to the Planning Inspectorate for the Eckington and Harthill applications to be decided by a government appointed planning inspector because it believes “no local decisions have been made in a reasonable time period”. Thursday’s decision by Rotherham MBC will be an important consideration for the planning inspector in the planning inquiry in as early as May this year. Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council officers have recommended that Councillors reject the planning application on Thursday.

Deborah Gibson, campaigner with Harthill Against Fracking said: “Harthill is full of people who love its location, its calm, and its history, from the Iron-age settlement, Roman settlement, the Domesday Book, to the present. There is a mix of emotions amongst local people, of anger, fear and helplessness but also hope that the RMBC Planning committee will refuse INEOS permission. This is a completely unnecessary and unacceptable industrial development and we are worried about the impact of extra traffic poses to farms, businesses and livelihoods and the safety of children should it go ahead.”

Richard Dyer, campaigner with Friends of the Earth, said: “We know that we have to leave the majority of fossil fuel resources in the ground if we are to prevent dangerous climate change, so it makes absolutely no sense to investigate the potential for fracking, England should follow the lead of all of our neighbouring countries, by saying no to this risky technology and commit to a clean energy future”

Dave Kesteven, campaigner with Eckington Against Fracking, said: “Eckington along with Woodsetts is also facing the threat of an INEOS exploratory drill, we have the prospect of 3 drilling rigs within 10 miles. We are all in this together and we stand strong with the community of Harthill. We don't need fracking. We won't have fracking. Standing together we will beat Ineos and win”

Our director, Andy Tickle said: “The drill site would be in some of Rotherham’s best countryside and would have significant impacts on landscape and tranquillity. It is unnecessary industrialisation of the South Yorkshire countryside and it must be stopped.”

Harthill Against Fracking, Friends of the Earth and CPRE are speaking at the planning hearing at Rotherham Town Hall on Thursday 25 January. Local campaigners will be present outside the hearing and available for broadcast interviews and photo opportunities. The hearing begins at 1pm and a decision is expected the same day.

For more information contact claire.norman@foe.co.uk or call Friends of the Earth press office: 020 7566 1649

Notes

  • About Friends of the Earth: For more than 40 years we’ve seen that the wellbeing of people and planet go hand in hand – and it’s been the inspiration for our campaigns. Together with thousands of people like you we’ve secured safer food and water, defended wildlife and natural habitats, championed the move to clean energy and acted to keep our climate stable. For further information visit www.friendsoftheearth.uk