'They picked on the wrong village', say anti-fracking protesters on South Yorkshire borders

Anti-fracking protesters on a march between Mosborough and Eckington
Anti-fracking protesters on a march between Mosborough and Eckington
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Anti-fracking protesters say the battle is only beginning after a firm cleared the first hurdle in its bid to drill for gas just outside South Yorkshire.

INEOS will not have to complete an environmental impact assessment as part of its application to begin searching for shale gas at a site in Bramleymoor Lane, near Marsh Lane and Eckington, Derbyshire County Council this week ruled.

Eckington Against Fracking brushed off the announcement as a 'minor blow', warning the company it had 'picked on the wrong village' as it prepares to step up its campaign.

The group said around 400 people had attended a protest march at the weekend and opposition was mounting in the area to plans for fracking.

David Kesteven, the group's chairman, claimed the council's announcement would probably save INEOS around £120,000 and three months of work, meaning a planning decision over exploratory work could now be made as soon as this summer.

"Local people are increasingly worried about the impact on their health, due to the extra traffic, noise and pollution, should fracking be allowed here," he said.

"The council's decision is disappointing but it's only a minor blow. We already have great support on the ground and our campaign has just started. They picked on the wrong village."

Fracking is where water and chemicals are blasted into the earth to release gas trapped below the surface, a practice which opponents claim is hugely damaging to the environment.

INEOS has yet to apply for planning permission to begin its search for gas in the area, which would involve drilling down more than 2km but no fracking at this stage.

The firm earlier this week welcomed the council's ruling and said environmental concerns would still be addressed as part of its application.

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