News ID: 254086
Published: 1031 GMT June 11, 2019

Yorkshire village faces petrochemical giant in anti-fracking fight

Yorkshire village faces petrochemical giant in anti-fracking fight
theguardian.com

A petrochemical company owned by Britain’s richest man, Jim Ratcliffe, is attempting to overrule a Yorkshire council to drill a shale gas well next to a sheltered housing development.

Residents in Woodsetts in Rotherham have crowdfunded £10,000 to pay a lawyer to help them oppose the application by INEOS, one of the world's largest chemical producers and a significant player in the oil and gas market, to carry out test core drilling on a field just outside the village, theguardian.com wrote.

Councilors in Rotherham have twice refused planning permission for the well, citing concerns about highway safety and the lack of information on control of environmental impacts. Denying INEOS for the second time in September against the advice of their own planners, councilors said they worried about the proximity to Berne Square, which provides housing for people who are elderly or ill.

INEOS has a UK Petroleum Exploration and Development Licence (PEDL) for a field outside Woodsetts, which allows it to pursue a range of oil and gas exploration activities, subject to necessary drilling and development consents and planning permission.

Matthew Wilkinson from Woodsetts Against Fracking said houses in Berne Square backed right on to INEOS’s site: “The site would be clearly visible from their homes. You could throw a ball and probably get very close to the well pad.”

Three weeks ago INEOS submitted an application to put up a 270-meter-long fence to be an ‘acoustic sound barrier’ to shield the estate, which has already been dubbed the ‘Great Wall of INEOS’.

Residents will feel trapped, claimed Wilkinson: “If somebody sticks a huge wall up outside your house, which it pretty much is, you’re going to feel enclosed.”

He added: “The ‘Great Wall of INEOS’ will act like nothing more than a prison wall to the most vulnerable people in our village, obscuring their views, reducing their light and causing stress.”

The Conservative government is in favor of fracking and has made it difficult for local councils to deny planning permission to energy firms hoping to frack for shale gas. To turn down a fracking application, councilors must cite concerns over traffic, noise or environmental impact, rather than an ideological objection to the process of fracking.

 

   
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