Planning success!

Planning success!

Wildlife Trust welcomes decision by IGas not to appeal refusal of planning extension for drilling site next to Misson Carr Nature Reserve.
 Long-eared Owl NottsWT cpt Darin Smith

 Long-eared Owl cpt Darin Smith

Back in July Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust hailed the decision by Nottinghamshire County Council’s Planning Committee to refuse a planning extension linked to shale gas exploration less than 130 metres from our Misson Carr Nature Reserve – a protected Site of Special Scientific Interest.

The Trust had long objected to the drilling operations alongside local campaigners been fighting the operations and earlier this year stood shoulder to shoulder with locals to urge the council to call time on the application.

An exploratory well was drilled by IGas at Misson Springs in north Nottinghamshire in 2018 and shale gas was found, but any potential application for fracking of the site was put on hold following the announcement of the Government’s shale gas fracking moratorium in late 2019. The exploratory drilling well was due to be removed and fully restored by November 2020, but the company has now applied for a 3-year extension so that it can delay that restoration, thus keeping open the option to apply for fracking if the moratorium is lifted.

Following the refusal of permission Igas have now stated that do not plan to appeal the decision and have committed to restoring the drilling site, as per the original planning permission. Whilst delighted at the outcome, which we feel illustrates the power of combining science based expert evidence with vociferous local campaigning, Nottingamshire Wildlife Trust will continue to monitor the site and restoration plans to ensure that they are delivered in a way that minimizes potential for disturbance of wildlife.

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, which has cared for the Misson Carr Nature Reserve, home to fragile and rare wetland habitats and threatened species, since 200. Habitats include rare wet woodlands, marsh and old grazing pastures and the county's largest remaining fragment of a fenland system that once covered much of the local landscape. Species include many unusual plants such as twayblade and the site is also rich in bird species – with all 5 UK species of owl having previously been recorded.

Speaking on behalf of Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, Head of Nature Recovery (North) Janice Bradley said: “Together with many local residents and campaigners we have opposed the shale gas exploration at Misson Springs since day one. Our concerns focused on the potential disturbance to rare breeding birds and the risks of pollution and other impacts on the site’s delicate ecosystems and fragile hydrology. We’re delighted that IGas will now be restoring the site lifting the threat of future damage and disturbance at Misson Carr.”