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Derbyshire fracking row intensifies

A row has intensified over a planning application to explore shale gas reserves between two North East Derbyshire villages.

Oil and chemical firm INEOS is seeking explore shale gas reserves on privately-owned land between the villages of Apperknowle and Marsh Lane.

INEOS had applied to Derbyshire County Council to erect a 60m drilling rig up and drill around 2.4km below the ground to investigate the suitability of the rock for fracking.

The planning application was submitted to the county council in May 2017 and the council held two public consultations about the proposals.

However, in December before the council had decided on the application, INEOS appealed to the Planning Inspectorate saying it could not continue to wait for a decision.

At a meeting on 5 February, the council’s planning committee voted to reject the recommendation of council planning officers that the proposal by INEOS would be acceptable if strict planning controls are put in place, arguing that the application should be rejected on traffic grounds as well as harm to the open nature of the Green Belt and unacceptable night-time noise.

Last week, a planning sub-committee again voted to reject INEOS’s application, after being asked to reconsider objections put forward by the planning committee

In a statement, the county council said: “Independent experts that we’d appointed had not found sufficient evidence to back up the argument that traffic from the development would have an unacceptable impact on local roads and road safety.”

This means a public inquiry will now be held with the decision whether or not to grant planning permission being taken by a Planning Inspector on behalf of the Government on the 19 June.

The County Council must now present their position to the Planning Inspector in writing so that it can be taken into account as part of the public inquiry process.

INEOS has recently been refused permission to drill in Rotherham, and is currently undertaking a legal challenge to the Scottish Government’s ban on fracking.

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