North East Derbyshire MP highlights fracking concerns in Parliamentary debate

Lee Rowley MP at the Bramleymoor Lane site.
Lee Rowley MP at the Bramleymoor Lane site.

North East Derbyshire MP, Lee Rowley, held a debate in Parliament yesterday to highlight the potential negative impact of fracking in his constituency.

In the 30-minute Westminster Hall debate, Lee raised residents’ concerns about the issue to the Government Minister for Energy and Industry and highlighted what he called the 'huge impact' which would result if it went ahead.

Lee referred to the recent planning application for exploratory drilling on land off Bramleymoor Lane, near Marsh Lane, which has the potential to result in fracking in the future.

The full speech can be viewed by clicking here.

In his speech, Lee commented: “I will place on record, at the start of my remarks, my complete and total opposition to both exploratory drilling and any fracking that might result from it in the future in or around Marsh Lane.

“North East Derbyshire neither supports nor wants the proposed drilling currently mooted.

“If there ever was a place that it wasn’t appropriate to frack – it is here.”

During the debate, Lee spoke of the need to explore different options to acquire domestic sources of energy in the UK, but called for greater consideration of where fracking is to take place and the impact it could or will have.

“Fracking is a highly-intense, high-impact, large-scale set of activities, usually in rural areas, which will change the nature of our countryside for several decades.

“I don’t believe that the United Kingdom has had, or is having, the kind of conversation that is needed on this subject to properly understand the impact which this source of energy would have on areas where shale gas is viable.”

“Nearby to Marsh Lane, and likely to be substantially affected too, are the village of Ridgeway, Apperknowle, Unstone, the hamlet of Troway, the towns of Dronfield and Eckington, the suburb of New Whittington and the village of Coal Aston where, it is expected, thousands of lorry movements will traverse narrow streets, round sharp country bends and go past the frontage of hundreds of houses in order to enable the activities taking place down the road.”

Lee rounded up the debate by calling on the Government to consider the different impacts that fracking has on communities, including pollution, noise and traffic implications.

Lee concluded: “The residents of my constituency have considered it. Those who live in Marsh Lane have considered it. And they have said very clearly, they don’t want it here and I hope it is stopped.”

In response, Richard Harrington MP, the Government Minister for Energy and Industry, was grateful to Lee for securing the debate and confirmed that Derbyshire County Council must consider the cumulative impact of any application for exploratory drilling or future fracking in North East Derbyshire.

Richard Harrington commented: “We need to take into account the cumulative part of shale. The national policy is clear: when planning permission is granted for shale gas, they have to consider the cumulative impact of potentially multiple shale sites. They are not just considered in isolation.”

Lee submitted a 13-page objection to the application for exploratory drilling near Marsh Lane earlier in the year. Although the public consultation has now closed, the decision on the application has not yet been made by Derbyshire County Council residents can still submit their views to them.