At an open public meeting of Bassetlaw District Councils (BDC) Planning Committee on 6th July, in a decisive vote of 8 to 1 (1 abstention) the Committee decided to object to a planning application for an exploratory borehole near Barnby Moor that Dart Energy, the applicant refers to a “Tinker Lane 1”.
BDC Councilors picked up on resident’s concerns that included traffic issues through the village of Blyth. Dart Energy has designated Blyth as its preferred route through to the A1 North & South. They also noted that Dart’s preference failed to recognise the existing traffic congestion through the village and the additional vehicle movements from a large new development BDC recently announced as Harworth South.
It also came as a surprise to councilors that there were old mine workings from Harworth Colliery in close proximity, around 1 km distance, from the proposed Tinker Lane 1 well site. Councilors called for maps of the underground workings to be made available with the application papers and called for a 3D seismic survey to be undertaken of the “Area of Interest”.
Whilst a costly business a 3D seismic survey will identify any unknown faults, this in an area of some considerable known faulting was deemed to be an essential first step in assessing the viability of unconventional gas extraction in the area. A 3 D survey is a prerequisite prior to fracking any well and Councilors were surprised given the sensitivity of the issue and mining history that a survey such as that already undertaken at Springs Road Misson had not been undertaken prior to the Tinker Lane 1 application.
Christie Willis Chair of Torworth Parish Council made a very strong case for 3D survey in the light of previous subsidence and sink holes in and around her Parish.
Councillor Willis reported that there was great concern in her community that Dart Energy intended to proceed with their exploratory drilling without an extensive 3D survey. Villagers were aware that Dart Energy’s exploration phase included a mini frack which given the lack of trust in Dart Energy originating from an ongoing breach of planning rules there was little confidence in the community that Dart would limit itself to a mini frack.
BDC Councilors recognised that this was a serious issue for Torworth and surrounding area and cited the lack of 3D seismic survey amongst other concerns in their grounds for objection.