FRACKING: Demo to show 'love for Major Oak'

Demonstrators are to gather in Sherwood Forest tomorrow as a show of support for the iconic Nottinghamshire woodland in the midst of shale gas exploration.

Friday, 17th February 2017, 5:25 pm
Updated Wednesday, 1st March 2017, 9:22 am
Protesters are amassing at the Major Oak tomorrow to show their 'love' for Sherwood Forest.
Protesters are amassing at the Major Oak tomorrow to show their 'love' for Sherwood Forest.

Fracking licence holder Ineos has said it could frack underneath the forest and landowners at the Thorsby Estate have submitted to formal requests to allow the drilling of test cores to examine the resources miles underground but said they would 'never' allow fracking within the national nature reserve'.

Ineos has claimed that the East Midlands can expect around 10 well sites per 100 square kilometres, and at least 10 wells at each site. Across the East Midlands this would equal 350 wells in total.

But campaigner Greg Hewitt of Frack-Free Notts said: "This is just a starting point - they'll need hundreds of wells to make it viable."

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Friends Of The Earth's map of Ineos's East Midlands licences shows a number of objections by landowners and Parish Councils.

And in addition to the impact on the landscape and ecology, the group is concerned about the industries impact on roads.

He added: "Each fracking operation requires 9,000 truck movements per well, so when you do the maths you start to see how many trucks we're looking at moving around the East Midlands going through villages and on rural roads each day.

"We're seeing numerous breaches of safety conditions across the UK already. Planning conditions aren't being enforced and the fracking companies say all the time we've got gold standard regulations, but they're breaching planning conditions. Ineos themselves have had numerous safety failures, explosions in Germany, workers having injuries - I don't know how the public can believe a company with so many bad practices will act responsibly in exploring and extracting shale gas."

At an Ashfield District Council meeting on Thursday, February 16 councillors voted in favour of opposing fracking in the district in principle, short of having the ability to block actual applications.

Ineos's planning documents, revealed by Friends of the Earth, include two proposed well site on the edge of the Lings outside Clipstone.(Image: Ineos Shale).

Friends of the Earth said Ineos has now been blocked by six Parish Councils in the East Midlands, and claim an FI request mad to the Forestry Commission has revealed proposed plans to place drilling rig within the Lings near Clipstone, said to be part of the historic Sherwood Forest although outside to the present day woodland.

Campaigner Guy Shrubsole said: "It's well within the limits of historic Sherwood Forest. I find it quite extra that in has been paying for expensive adverts in local papers saying we have no intention of placing drilling rigs in the Sherwood forest now or in the future. The part we're talking about is forested.

Gary Hayward of Ineos told BBC Radio Nottingham: "To call the heart of the forest an area where you cant carry out any development is nonsense.

"One of the potential sites identified by Friends of the Earth is a commercial pine operation.

Friends Of The Earth's map of Ineos's East Midlands licences shows a number of objections by landowners and Parish Councils.

Sherwood Forest Country Park the SSRI and other important sites are all'off-limits' he said. "We wouldn't want to go there anyway."

Ineos development boss Tom Pickering said in an Interview with the Chad te firm plans to enter a drilling application into each of its 12 licence areas.

He said: "Ten cored wells would get a flavour of the area on whether gas is present or not, what is the pressure, the temperature, the natural fracture system. We expect 10 well sites and six to 10 well bores over a 100 square kilometre area.

"We would use the vertical cores data to test that gas and net we would submit a planning app to put in a horizontal frack and see if we can achieve a flow of gas to the surface."

Ineos's planning documents, revealed by Friends of the Earth, include two proposed well site on the edge of the Lings outside Clipstone.(Image: Ineos Shale).

Ineos has warned it can take legal action if landowners refuse to allow it to conduct pre-fracking surveys to assess the geology underneath Nottinghamshire. Such a threat has already been made to the National Trust after its own refusal for Clumber Park. but the firm said it has not made any action yet and hopes to continue via 'reasonable' applications to the charity over its land at

Mr Pickering added: "There are provisions which prevent an owner from stopping it. Its a national resource we have a licence to develop it and we have a commitment to the government to explore that national resource. We haven't begun any legal proceedings and we'll continue to act reasonably to secure reasonably entry."

In a recent opinion piece for the Chad, Harriet MacKenzie-Williams highlighted her concerns in Ineos's advertorial which has appeared in the newspaper and claimed US reports reveal the dangers as the vast majority of wells fail safety tests.

On the report, Mr Pickering said: "There are a million US shale gas wells working today, it's an industries process with risk issues associated with it but it's benefited the US economy and it's developing day to day."

"I know the report she is quoting and those figures are to do with the drilling and integrity testing not well bore rate failure. "The 75 per cent failure rate is to do with the way they test the well. You perform the test to ensure you achieve integrity and you keep re-testing until you achieve it.

Mrs MacKenzie-Williams responded: "In america these aren't wells that were tested to destruction the were wells in use that failed while they were in operation, or after they were gone massive leakages were occurring."

The mum from Skegby, 48, who runs her own financial advice business said: "Looking at what you see in the States, it would be more likely to be in the thousands by the time the shale industry is fully developed.

Land Agent of the Thorsby Estate Nick Brown said: "We have agreed to allow to seismic surveys because we think they are quite important to ensure there aren't any problems irrespective of whether we say there's no fracking on our land - because there will be somebody in Sherwood that will have a well on their land and we want to know what the geology is to ensure there is no disturbance on our land.

"In terms of drill sites, the only areas have been considering well sites are on parts of our land which form apart of the National Nature Reserve and there is no way we would allow drilling in an NNR. We're not against fracking as a matter of course but the land that we own that is under consideration is not appropriate."