Wildlife Trust calls on council to stop future exploratory drilling at Misson Springs

Wildlife Trust calls on council to stop future exploratory drilling at Misson Springs

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust calls on County Council to call time on threat of future disturbance to threatened wildlife at north Notts Site of Special Scientific Interest

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust will be one of a number of groups calling for an application by IGas for a 3-year license extension for exploratory drilling linked to fracking at Misson Springs to be rejected when it is considered at a meeting of Nottinghamshire County Council’s Planning Committee on Tuesday.

Mission springs fracking protest

The Trust has opposed the shale gas exploration at Misson Springs since day one due to concerns over potential disturbance to rare breeding birds and the risks of pollution and other impacts on the site’s delicate ecosystems and fragile hydrology. The Trust vigorously opposed the original application but feels that weaknesses in the planning rules and government’s strong support for fracking at the time meant that the County Council had their hands largely tied.

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 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 is seeking an extension so that it can delay that restoration, thus keeping open the option to apply for fracking if the moratorium is lifted.

As we face up to a combined climate and ecological crisis the local, national and global focus must be on securing alternatives, reversing the impacts of climate change and putting nature into recovery.
Erin McDaid, Head of Communications
Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust

Speaking about the application, Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust’s Head of Communications Erin McDaid said: “What started out as a ‘temporary’ site in 2014 is in danger of becoming much more permanent – extending stress for local residents and effectively establishing an open ended threat of future damage and disturbance to wildlife on what is supposed to be a protected site of national importance.”

IGas has publicly stated that it believes that the shale gas deposits available from the Bowland Shales beneath the area surrounding Misson Springs are of national significance, and Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust is concerned that any lifting of the moratorium could lead to decades of risky and damaging activity in an extremely sensitive area.

Erin added: “IGas have previously been bullish about the prospects of the moratorium being lifted which means that are either being disingenuous or have an inside track on the Government’s thinking, which, in the UK set to host the pivotal COP26 international climate conference in November would be extremely worrying”.

Mission springs fracking protest

However, the Trust, which took over the care and management of Misson Carr 20 years ago this year, believes that now is not the time to make special exceptions for potentially damaging operations designed to unlock massive stores of fossil fuels that will inevitably drive further carbon emissions that drive climate change.

With the moratorium still in place, their own Climate Emergency Declaration fresh in people’s minds and the UK set to host efforts to tackle climate change in just a few months’ time the Trust believes the Council, has every reason to call time on these damaging, unnecessary and unacceptable operations by refusing the extension.

On Tuesday The Trust will reiterate its long-standing concerns that the operations pose a significant threat of disturbance at what is supposed to be a protected site and urge the Council to consider the bigger environmental picture.

Erin explained: “As we face up to a combined climate and ecological crisis the local, national and global focus must be on securing alternatives, reversing the impacts of climate change and putting nature into recovery. “

The Trust is calling on local residents who object to the prospect of future fracking to ensure that they make their County Councillor aware before the meeting on Tuesday.

Mission springs fracking protest