COUNCILLORS unanimously rejected a fracking firm’s proposal to drill in Woodsetts after more than two hours of debate.
Rotherham Borough Council’s planning board today threw out Ineos Shale’s bid to create a 2,800-metre vertical well on Dinnington Road on environmental and highway safety grounds.
The Town Hall meeting heard passionate speeches from protest group Woodsetts Against Fracking and local residents, as well as arguments from representatives of Ineos.
Tom Pickering, operations director of Ineos Shale, said that any gas found underground would be part of the national resource and the company had an obligation to explore for it.
But he claimed the impact of the exploration facility would not be a problem and that more liaison with local people would allay their fears.
He said: “I would like to assure you today that the application is no different to those types of wells dug over decades for gas, coal or any geological survey.
“It’s simply to improve our knowledge.”
Members of Woodsetts Against Fracking hit back at the proposal and said it would cause traffic chaos and dangers, ruin the visual amenity of the area, create noise issues, and be an ecological nightmare as ancient woodlands were threatened.
Group member Richard Scholey said there would be 80 HGVs a day “rumbling through” the village and that the process would potentially pollute aquifers which supplied water to Worksop.
He said: “If there was a competition to select the most inappropriate location, Ineos have just won first prize.”
Fellow protester Barry Cartwright said that 103 houses would be within ten metres of the road along which HGVs would travel, and added: “The traffic this development will bring to the village will be devastating.”
Cllr John Vjestica said that ancient woodland was threatened by the proposal, and Cllr Bob Walsh said that Dewidales Ancient Woodlands, which would have been 25 metres from the drilling site, was “what England used to be like” and should be protected.
Ineos Shale’s application for a similar drilling operation in Harthill will be heard at a public inquiry in April after the firm by-passed the local planning process.