Fracking for gas on South Yorkshire’s border today moved a step closer after a potential hurdle was cleared.
INEOS wants to drill around 2,400 metres down in search of shale gas reserves on privately owned land off Bramleymoor Lane, near Eckington.
Derbyshire County Council today ruled that the firm need not submit an environmental impact assessment as part of its planning application to carry out the exploratory work, which has yet to be submitted.
The search itself would not involve fracking but should significant gas reserves be found INEOS wants to use the controversial process, which involves blasting water and chemicals into the ground to release buried gas.
A protest march through Mosborough and Eckington was staged on Saturday against plans for fracking, which critics claim damages the landscape and can harm humans and wildlife.
Derbyshire County Council said an environmental impact assessment was not necessary as the exploratory work, involving the use of a drilling rig up to 60 metres high, was unlikely to significantly affect the local environment.
Mike Ashworth, the council's strategic director for economy, transport and communities, said: "We have already received many emails and letters from residents about the proposed drilling well and all these views will be taken into consideration by our planning committee if INEOS submits a planning application."
Should gas be discovered, INEOS would require separate planning permission to carry out test fracking and then to begin full-scale extraction.
Tom Pickering, shale operations director at INEOS, said: "We are very pleased that the latest step in the process has now been completed. While we are not required to complete a formal EIA, all relative environmental concerns will be addressed as part of the application and we are looking forward to continuing to work with the council and community to discuss these as the project moves forward.”
The Star has contacted the protest group Frack Off for a comment, but has yet to receive a response.
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