Council decides its reasons to oppose fracking firm's plan

By Gareth Dennison | 25/01/2018

Council decides its reasons to oppose fracking firm's plan
Campaigners outside Rotherham Town Hall

PLANNERS in Rotherham have formally agreed reasons for opposing a fracking firm’s drill plan when it reaches a public inquiry.

Chemical company Ineos decided to ask the Planning Inspectorate to decide the Harthill proposal after claiming the council took too long.

It meant the application was already refused and moved directly to an appeal but RMBC’s planning board met today to discuss what evidence to take to the inquiry.

They decided that concerns against access and “deficient” ecology reports from Ineos meant the proposal could not be supported.

Ineos wants to drill a test well 2,800 metres under Common Road to test the geology. It could lead to fracking, although that would require additional planning permission.

The meeting, at Rotherham Town Hall on Thursday afternoon, heard from protesters including Harthill Against Fracking.

Group spokeswoman Deborah Gibson said: “The decision made today will go to the Planning Inspectorate as Ineos has bypassed local democracy.

"Harthill is full of people who love its location, its calm, and its history, from the Iron-age settlement, Roman settlement, the Domesday Book, to the present.

“This is a completely unnecessary and unacceptable industrial development and we are worried about the impact of extra traffic poses to farms, businesses and livelihoods and the safety of children.”

A report by council officers said: “It is considered that the proposal fails to satisfactorily address highway safety concerns raised and insufficient ecological details have been submitted.”

The deadline for evidence being submitted for consideration at the inquiry is February 8.

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