‘WE WILL NOT GIVE UP’: Residents vow to stop fracking in Derbyshire village

Residents at the meeting. Picture courtesy of Eckington Against Fracking (Facebook).
Residents at the meeting. Picture courtesy of Eckington Against Fracking (Facebook).
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“We are not going to give up.”

This is the message from residents of Marsh Lane who turned out in their droves to a public meeting about fracking tonight.

Such was the demand for information and answers, a second community centre had to be opened to accommodate the villages.

At Green Laws Community Centre, a presentation was given on the process behind fracking. While down at the nursery, another talk was given about the proposal by chemical firm Ineos to drill for shale gas on Bramley Moor Lane in the village.

Opening the meeting at the nursery, resident David Kesteven, of Staveley Lane, said: “This is what democracy looks like.

“There are plans for this area that you have got to know about.

“Thank you for coming, this is amazing.”

Mr Kesteven, a head gardener at Renishaw Hall, lead an hour long talk in which he gave a detailed explanation of each stage of the development.

He told the audience how HGVs would be carrying 9,000 tonnes of aggregate up and down the road through Eckington to Marsh Lane, how generators would be lit 24 hours a day, a 60 metre rig would be built and a well which would be 2,400 metres deep.

“The more you know, the worse it is,” he said.

“We cannot give up, we just can’t. It is not an option.

“We have to push them all the way.

“We are not going to give up.”

Residents asked questions throughout the meeting including about how best to get their voices heard, how they could force Ineos to have to carry out an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and which route the HGVs would go and the timeframe for the plan.

Also in attendance was chairman of Eckington Parish Council, Councillor Brian Ridgway, who again reiterated that Ineos is adamant they will not be carrying out an EIA and that head of planning at Derbyshire County Council, Rob Murfin, has said he is happy to attend a future meeting to answer questions.

Coun Ridgway said: “I have had two meetings with Rob Murfin. He has agreed to come and address a meeting. He is away at the minute. He has said he will come as long as it is a structured meeting. He is doing his job but he is not making the decision. The council making the decision will be the planning authority at Derbyshire County Council.”

There was no one from Ineos at the meeting to get a response.

However, on submitting an EIA, Ineos operations director, Tom Pickering, said: “The Environmental Screening Report we submitted to Derbyshire County Council addresses whether or not an Environmental Impact Assessment (‘EIA’) is required for the proposed development.

‘Screening’ is a formal process established in the EIA Regulations, where the proposer of a development seeks the planning authority’s formal opinion on whether EIA is required, or not.

“Our screening report sets out the issues we have considered in coming to our own conclusion that an EIA is not required in this case.

“It is for the council, having considered our submission and consulted with the appropriate bodies, to confirm whether it considers EIA is necessary.

“If it concludes that EIA is not required, the planning application will still be supported by a number of reports which will assess the effects of the proposal.”

He added: “The proposal is to drill a vertical exploration well to recover samples of the rock for laboratory analysis. The drilling rig will be operational for approximately three months before it is dismantled and removed from the site.”

Ineos will be hosting an exhibition at the Green Lawns Community Centre on Tuesday, January 31 between 2pm and 8pm.

A full planning application is set to be submitted by Ineos to Derbyshire County Council at the end of the month.

If planning permission is granted by the county council, work could start as early as July.