Campaigners step up fight against fracking in Derbyshire

Residents at a public meeting held in Marsh Lane about fracking.
Residents at a public meeting held in Marsh Lane about fracking.
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Campaigners opposing plans to carry out fracking tests in a Derbyshire village have stepped up their fight.

Chemical firm Ineos is set to submit a planning application to Derbyshire County Council next month for privately-owned land just off Bramley Moor Lane in Marsh Lane, near Eckington.

Since the plans were announced in January, hundreds of residents have voiced their concerns at parish council meetings, public meetings and staged a protest march outside a public exhibition hosted by Ineos. Now campaigners have launched an official committee group which holds regular meetings and has set up a fundraising page.

Chairman of the Eckington Against Fracking committee, David Kesteven, said: “We need to let the community know that there are plans to turn this area into a gas field with potential for hundreds of wells. We are complete amateurs and volunteers who are doing this in our time but we are very dedicated. We are fundraising for things like posters and to hire out rooms for a series of meetings.”

The committee is made up of 22 people who host closed meetings every Monday night to discuss issues around planning and public engagement.

On the first Thursday of every month, the group host a public meeting at Eckington Miners Welfare at 7.30pm, with the next one on March 2.

Mr Kesteven added: “The Eckington Against Fracking Group has about 2,600 members at the minute. Anybody can attend our public meetings not just people from Eckington and Marsh Lane.

“We had about 150 people at our first public meeting.”

Ineos is believed to have identified a number of sites including in Staveley and at Clumber Park and Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire.

At a public exhibition last month, experts at Ineos showed residents the plans and answered questions.

Operations director, Tom Pickering, said: “I totally understand people’s concerns, I would be too if I heard some of the things that they have done but I hope they see that as a company we are keen to get out and talk to people and really listen to them.”

An anti-fracking march has been organised for Saturday, February 25. It starts at 12pm at the Queens Hotel in Mosborough before leaving the Market Place in Eckington at 1pm up to the Butchers Arms pub in Marsh Lane.

The fundraising page is at: www.gofundme.com/eckington-against-fracking.