Decision within weeks after 'fracking' public inquiry

Decision due: Councillors will be told of public inquiry outcome within weeks.
Decision due: Councillors will be told of public inquiry outcome within weeks.
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A planning inspector is expected to make a ruling within weeks on whether a fracking company can drill a test well on green belt land near a rural Rotherham village

Councillors have been told to expect a decision from a public inquiry within six weeks, following the decision by petro-chemicals company Ineos to take the matter to a public inquiry, following delays with a planning application to Rotherham Council for the work at Harthill.

That was a technical issue, with the council failing to make a decision in the legal time frame, though it later made a notional ruling that it did not support the application.

During the course of the hearing, it emerged the council’s remaining objection was on highways grounds after its concerns about the ecological impact of the proposed work were addressed.

The site can only be approached via country lanes and increased traffic could only be managed by the use of a series of passing places.

Councillors have also been told there has been no response yet from Ineos to a decision to reject a similar application to drill a test well in a field near Woodsetts, another rural village.

Council officials are anticipating Ineos may take that to appeal, or potentially submit a new application in attempt to win support from the council’s planning board.

Neither application has been for actual fracking work, but to test the geology of the substrata to establish whether it would be practical to do so.