Anti-fracking campaigners say thousands of people have objected to an energy company’s plan to ‘flow test’ its existing well in Ellesmere Port .
Campaigners reckon more than 2,200 people have either objected or signed a petition against the scheme at Portside North.
Anti-frackers argue the granting of permission would mean a ‘step closer’ to a full scale fracking operation with all the associated fears around water and air contamination as well as earthquakes.
IGas has confirmed the latest plan does not involve any hydraulic fracturing, known as ‘fracking’, and only relates to flow testing the existing well to assess whether commercial hydrocarbon production is possible.
Port resident Jackie Mayers, a member of Frack Free Ellesmere Port, commented: “We collected hundreds of objections in Ellesmere Port town centre from our stall. Feedback from locals was that this industry is not wanted here, we’ve had to put up with enough pollution over the years and enough is enough. Very few local jobs will be created and a renewable manufacturing industry is needed now.”
Ellesmere Port and Neston MP Justin Madders said: “With so many objections I would hope that if the planning committee reject the application that the decision is accepted by all concerned and we don’t have Government pressure to approve the application through the back door like we have seen in Lancashire.”
Cheshire West and Chester councillor and environmental campaigner Matt Bryan said: “It’s fantastic to see what can be achieved when communities and groups come together to raise awareness. It has been proven beyond scientific and medical doubt that this industry causes massive harm to those around it. We need a well-supported green sector to create sustainable, well-paid jobs and to meet the energy needs of residents.”
■ Frack Free Dee coalition groups will be holding a family-friendly peaceful protest before the planning committee on Thursday, January 25. People are gathering outside the town hall from 3pm before walking to Cheshire West and Chester HQ building, Nicholas Street, Chester, in time for the meeting which starts at 4pm. Members of the public are encouraged to attend.
IGas said in a supporting statement the proposal accorded with national and local planning policies.
It continued: “The UK Government supports the appraisal of indigenous oil and gas reserves to maintain security of supply. The UK is now a net importer of oil and gas resources and is open to the volatilities of the global market. The Government highlight that ‘minerals are essential to the nation’s prosperity and quality of life’, further demonstrating its commitment to minerals appraisal.
“The site is an existing well site and as such benefits from existing mitigation through the implementation of appropriate site and well design and drilling techniques including an impermeable membrane across the site. The current proposal will benefit from these existing mitigation measures.
“The applicant has considered the possible environmental effects associated with the development. The site selected benefits from having good access from the highway network and has no impact on designated sites or protected species, and is a suitable distance away from residential properties. The applicant concludes that any impacts associated with this proposal will be negligible and short in duration.”