Special council meeting will discuss fracking after more than 1,000 objections

By Gareth Dennison | 22/09/2017

Special council meeting will discuss fracking after more than 1,000 objections
Members of Harthill Against Fracking pictured at a protest walk in August

FRACKING protesters have filed more than 1,000 objections against proposals to drill for gas under Harthill.

Ineos Shale is about halfway through a regional seismic survey examining the underground geology of 250km sq.

The chemical giant has applied for permission to build a vertical coring well on land off Common Lane.

The main grounds of opposition among the 1,009 objections include impact on highway safety and wildlife, noise, air pollution, mining risks and inappropriate use of the green belt.

The huge amount of interest will mean Rotherham’s planning board will make a decision at a standalone meeting, expected to be held in November.

Meanwhile Ineos, which is also looking at fracking under Woodsetts, has won an injunction against certain types of protest.

A high court judge ruled against shale activists who challenged the order, which will remain in place until later this year.

Ineos operations director Tom Pickering said: “It is our duty to do all we can to ensure the safety of everyone on and around our sites, including the protestors themselves. 

“We are also clear that our people and suppliers have the right to come to work free from harassment and intimidation.

“We welcome the judge’s decision to renew the injunctions and we look forward to presenting our case in full at the next hearing.”

The injunction means protestors taking part in slow walks or lock-ons — physically attaching themselves to objects or each other — could be in contempt of court.

Harthill Against Fracking member Deborah Gibson said: “Ineos have brought out an injunction forbidding people their lawful right to protest. Slow walks and lock-ons are not illegal in and of themselves.

“This injunction makes a mockery of democracy when one company has the money to buy the law, leaving the rest of us with little recourse in law other than to accept this attack on our rights or to protest using our democratic rights and still be in contempt of court.”

Another anti-fracking campaigner added: “I have always believed I live in a democratic society but given the manner in which Ineos is operating, it would appear we are moving to more of a dictatorship with local and national opinions not being heard.”

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