Fracking application for north Derbyshire village has cost public £100,000 so far

The cost to the public of processing a fracking planning application in north Derbyshire stands at around £100,000 so far.

Thursday, 25th January 2018, 5:57 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th January 2018, 6:00 pm
Ineos wants to explore for shale gas reserves in Marsh Lane.

Chemical giant Ineos wants to erect a rig up to 60 metres tall and drill around 2,400 metres below the ground on land off Bramley Moor Lane, Marsh Lane, near Eckington, to investigate the suitability of the rock for fracking.

The firm submitted an application to the county council in May 2017 but in December, before the council were ready to decide on it, Ineos chose to make an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate saying it could not continue to wait for a decision.

It means a public inquiry will now be held on June 19, lasting around eight days, with the decision whether or not to grant planning permission being taken by a planning inspector.

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After its appeal, Ineos sent the county council a repeat of its first planning application − a process known as ‘twin tracking’ − for the same proposals on the same site.

The law allows councils to refuse to process some twin track applications.

At a meeting on Monday (January 29) it is expected the planning committee will be advised not to deal with the repeated application.

Mike Ashworth, Derbyshire County Council’s strategic director for economy, transport and environment, − the department responsible for planning − said: “It seems to us that there is nothing to be gained from dealing with this repeat application when an appeal process for the proposal is ongoing.

“We feel it would be confusing and an unnecessary burden on the public to invite comments again on exactly the same proposal.”

He added: “The planning committee has to assess whether this is a good use of public money given that the second application is for identical development to the first.

“By processing the second application, the county council would have all the associated costs of repeating the public consultation and its dealings with other official bodies.

“The nationally set £8,000 fee paid by Ineos to the council on the first application only covers a small proportion of the public cost involved − currently totalling around £100,000 − and there is no fee payable on the second application.”

At a meeting on February 5, the county council’s planning committee will be asked to give a view on the proposal so that the planning inspector takes into account the council’s position when deciding whether or not to grant planning permission.