Planning inspector gives go-ahead for Marsh Lane shale gas proposal

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A planning application to explore underground shale gas reserves near the village of Marsh Lane in Derbyshire has been given the green light by a planning inspector following a public inquiry.

Derbyshire County Council had opposed the application by oil and chemical firm INEOS.

The decision by planning inspector Elizabeth Hill – appointed on behalf of the Government – is to grant INEOS planning permission, subject to conditions, to erect a drilling rig up to 60 metres tall and drill around 2,400 metres below the ground, off Bramleymoor Lane.

The development is to investigate the suitability of the rock for potential shale gas extraction by fracking. A separate planning application and approval would be required before any fracking could take place.

The original application to Derbyshire County Council “was referred by INEOS to the Planning Inspectorate for an appeal because the firm was not prepared to allow more time for [the council] to make a decision.”

The council opposed the application on the following grounds:

  • unacceptable impact on local road users
  • harm to the open nature of the Green Belt
  • unacceptable night-time noise

An inquiry lasting eight days was held in June 2018, in which detailed evidence and arguments were put before the inspector by the council, members of the community, Eckington Against Fracking and INEOS.

Councillor Martyn Ford, Chair of Derbyshire County Council’s planning committee, said: “This is a very disappointing result for the residents of Marsh Lane and the surrounding area who came together and mounted such a well-organised campaign to oppose the application. We’ll be looking at the inspector’s report in detail over the coming days.”