Nottinghamshire County Council receives first shale application

A county council in East Midlands has received its first planning application for shale gas exploration, which could pave the way for a fracking project.

Fracking protest (picture: Friends of the Earth)
Fracking protest (picture: Friends of the Earth)

Island Gas Limited (IGas) has lodged a planning application with Nottinghamshire County Council to undertake exploration for shale gas on land off Springs Road, to the north east of Misson in Bassetlaw, which is close to the Nottinghamshire, Doncaster and North Lincolnshire local government boundaries. 

The application is for the development of a shale gas well site, which would involve the drilling of two exploratory shale gas wells (one vertically and one horizontally) together with ancillary works. It does not include proposals for fracking.

However, Sally Gill, planning manager for the county council, said that "if permission is granted, the test drilling would allow IGas to evaluate the potential resource of shale gas trapped beneath the surface" and that "depending on the results of the test drilling, IGas may, or may not, seek permission to extract the shale gas using fracking".

This, she added, "would require a separate planning application which would be subject to further consultation".

The county council will now begin consultation work on the application, seeking the views of more than 40 organisations, including statutory consultees, neighbouring local authorities and landowners, county council departments, national government departments and agencies as well as wildlife organisations.

Rules brought in last month by the government mean that the speed at which councils decide onshore oil and gas cases will now be scrutinised. Any underperforming authority will face having decisions taken out of their hands.

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