Isle fracking fears after licenses granted

A final judgement on controversial fracking across the Isle has come a step closer after eight test sites were earmarked for exploration.

Licences for shale gas exploration have been given by the Department of Energy and Climate Change at Cottage Farm and Eastoft Road, Crowle, Pasture Lane, Amcotts, Haldenby Hall, Luddington, Pilfrey Bridge, Althorpe, North Street, West Butterwick, Temple Gardens, Belton, but the only one given permission so far from the Environment Agency for investigative works is at Lodge Farm, Broughton.

EA spokeswoman Amanda Bakewell, said: “Permission has been given to Egdon Resources to carry out investigative work at Lodge Farm, Broughton However, so far we don’t have names of any other companies who have obtained licences as they have not come to us yet.”

The contentious issue of fracking has brought a mixed response from the area’s MP and councillors. Some are urging people to wait for test results and others are calling for a full and frank debate now.

Isle MP Andrew Percy said: “These are only exploratory licenses and if they did lead to anything more substantial there would be a full planning application and consultation with residents.”

North Lincolnshire Axholme North councillor Trevor Barker, sounded a note of caution: “We should not allow it any more than we should allow any more wind farms. I think it’s about time open debate was started on fracking.”

North Lincolnshire Axholme North councillor John Briggs, said: “This still needs to go through planning and I will be calling all applications in to allow the community to have its say. Fracking companies have pledged to get communities involved.”

In neighbouring South Yorkshire there are concerns that IGas, heading up a consortium including French company Total, is planning to drill for shale gas in neighbouring North East Bassetlaw in the first quarter of 2015.

Spokesman for Frack Free South Yorkshire, David Burley, said: “Residents and environmental groups are increasingly alarmed at the prospect of heavy industrialisation, 24/7 light and noise, fugitive emissions of methane and other gases into the air, flaring of excess gas, and potential spillages of chemicals and used frack water.”

Since the article went to press the Environment Agency has sent information stating: “ We have issued Egdon Resources UK Ltd an environmental permit referenced: EPR/AB3609XX to operate a mining waste operation at Wressle 1, Lodge Farm. The permitted activity is for a mining waste operation for the management of non-hazardous extractive waste and gas from prospecting for mineral resources not including a waste facility. The activity does not include well stimulation or hydraulic fracturing for the recovery of oil and gas.”