Derbyshire MP criticises fracking firm for complaining about 'unworkable' planning policies

Ineos has been granted planning permission to explore for shale gas in Marsh Lane.
Ineos has been granted planning permission to explore for shale gas in Marsh Lane.

MP Lee Rowley has criticised a company which wants to carry out fracking in north Derbyshire for complaining about 'unworkable' current planning policies.

Industry giant Ineos has been granted planning permission to explore for shale gas reserves in Marsh Lane, near Eckington. If successful, it could eventually lead to fracking at the site.

Bramley Moor Lane, Marsh Lane. The site where Ineos plan to explore for shale gas reserves.

Bramley Moor Lane, Marsh Lane. The site where Ineos plan to explore for shale gas reserves.

This week the firm slammed the government’s position as ‘unworkable’ and ‘unhelpful’ and said current planning policies are ‘archaic’.

The comments are specifically aimed at the shale seismicity level threshold of 0.5. In the United States, the level is typically 4.0 on the Richter scale.

Jim Ratcliffe, chairman of Ineos, said: “The government’s position is unworkable and unhelpful. They are playing politics with the future of the country. We have a non-existent energy strategy and are heading towards an energy crisis that will do long term and irreparable damage to the economy and the government needs to decide whether they are finally going to put the country first and develop a workable UK onshore gas industry.”

MP for north east Derbyshire, Lee Rowley, has supported residents of Marsh Lane and Eckington in their campaign against the plans.

North East Derbyshire MP, Lee Rowley.

North East Derbyshire MP, Lee Rowley.

“It’s a step in the right direction that even Ineos are starting to realise that fracking is unworkable in the UK,” Mr Rowley said.

“I’ve long said that it won’t work in north east Derbyshire and, given the sheer scale of the number of wells that would be required, I don’t think it will work across the country as a whole.

“It’s a bit rich of Ineos to start complaining now about the regulations on minimising earthquakes when they previously said these would go ‘some way to assuring the public of the minimal risks presented’. Ineos can’t have it both ways.”

He added: “Residents in Marsh Lane and elsewhere in north east Derbyshire have been clear - we do not want fracking. Not now. Not ever. I will keep fighting with the local community to try to stop this happening.”

David Kesteven, chairman of the Eckington Against Fracking group, said he was ‘not suprised’ at Ineos’ attempts to get the seismic level increased and that it was ‘desperate’.

Mr Kesteven said: “It is interesting times. We have run a very successful campaign but if they want to come again then we will be ready. We are closing in on the end game and I wish they would just leave us alone.”

Last year Ineos was granted permission to explore for shale gas reserves in Marsh Lane provided they meet planning obligations. In January, Derbyshire County Council and Ineos said there was no update to provide at this stage.