Sherwood Forest councillor makes fresh fracking plea

A Sherwood Forest councillor who helped collate an anti-fracking petition says it would be “disastrous” if the practice were allowed in Sherwood Forest.

Nottinghamshire County Council’s communities and place committee has met to discuss a 3,032-signature petition regarding the future of fracking in Sherwood and Edwinstowe.

A fracking rig.

A fracking rig.

The petition, which was presented to full council by Councillor John Peck, Labour member for Sherwood Forest, says “we the undersigned agree that Sherwood and Edwinstowe should be kept a frack-free zone”.

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Councillor John Peck.

Councillor John Peck.

And, speaking ahead of the meeting, Coun Peck said he is determined to ensure Sherwood Forest is never used for fracking.

He said: “Essentially what it is is opposing any suggestion that there should be fracking in the Edwinstowe or Sherwood Forest area.

“So it’s an anti-fracking petition. As the local county councillor representing the Sherwood Forest division, I have consistently, right from the beginning, been opposed to any suggestion there should be fracking in the Edwinstowe and Sherwood area.

“It is one of those areas which is earmarked for exploration, and the petition is from the local anti-fracking group.

“However, my own position, and that of the anti-fracking group, is that we’re also opposed to the suggestion by the government that the requirement for fracking companies to apply for planning is dropped, so it comes under the permitted development rules, which apply to such things as small-scale developments such as a front porch, and things like that, where you don’t require planning permission if it’s below certain dimensions.

“We’re totally opposed to that.

“We think it’s absolutely essential that they should go through the full and normal planning procedures, so local people have a chance to either oppose or support the proposals.

“But I’m totally opposed to it, and Edwinstowe Parish Council is totally opposed to the idea that there should be any fracking in Edwinstowe Sherwood forest area, because it’s the historic Sherwood Forest, home of Robin Hood.

“It’s a site of special scientific interest, and it would be totally inappropriate to turn this area into a huge gas field with all the drilling equipment and the huge increase in HGV lorries going to and fro.

“It’s our top tourist attraction in Nottingham, and it would be disastrous if that were to happen.”

Last week, the high court found elements of government guidelines around fracking were unlawful, with the court finding it was material to consider scientific evidence, including the effects on climate change, in deciding policy on fracking, and the government had failed to do so.

In a statement, the council emphasised no permission for fracking has been granted in the region, adding it had had yet to receive any applications either.

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