Fracking tests in Derbyshire village "would not be unacceptable", says council chief

A plan to carry out fracking tests in a small village in north east Derbyshire "would not be unacceptable", according to a report.

Tuesday, 30th January 2018, 5:34 pm
Updated Tuesday, 30th January 2018, 5:35 pm
The latest on the fracking application for Marsh Lane...

The county council's planning committee is to meet on Monday, February 5 where it will consider its 'position' on proposals by chemical giant Ineos to drill 2,400 metres into the ground to test the suitability of the rock for fracking on land just off Bramley Moor Lane, Marsh Lane, near Eckington.

The final decision will be taken by the Planning Inspectorate following a public inquiry this June, after Ineos appealed saying the county council was taking too long to decide whether or not to grant planning permission - something the authority denied.

A report by Mike Ashworth, Derbyshire County Council's strategic director for economy, transport and environment, − the department responsible for planning, states: "The site is located in the open countryside and in the greenbelt, however, I am satisfied that the development in the proposed location would not be unacceptable.

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"I have assessed the potential environmental impacts of the development and I find there would be no significant impacts or conflict with development plan policy that would warrant an objection from the MPA to a grant of permission under the appeal, provided that a comprehensive set of measures to control and limit the impacts of the development on the environment and local amenity with respect to noise, dust management, ecology, archaeology, lighting, traffic routing and highways safety, landscaping, restoration and aftercare as outlined above are secured through a planning obligation by section 106 legal agreement and imposition of conditions to which the permission is subject."

It is likely to be a blow for campaigners who have fought the plans for more than a year.

MP for North East Derbyshire, Lee Rowley, has called the indication by the county council not to oppose the plan "hugely disappointingly".

The public inquiry is due to start on June 19, lasting eight days.

The cost to the public of the fracking application is said to be around £100,000 so far, according to the county council.

Monday's meeting takes place at County Hall in Matlock at 1pm. Members of the public can attend.

View the agenda for the meeting here