The possibility of fracking at Clumber Park has moved a step closer after an energy firm was given the go-ahead to take its bid to carry out tests at the historic country park to the High Court. Ineos Shale has been granted permission by the Government’s Oil and Gas Authority to pursue its right to access land at the 3,800-acre estate, near Ollerton, so it can carry out tests.
Ineos does not have permission to carry out fracking at the Grade I-listed site – only backing by the Government to conduct seismic surveys that will determine whether shale gas reserves lie deep underground.
Should it find that viable energy resources exist, the company would then have to apply for permission to either carry out further tests, through vertical core drilling, or for it to begin fracking. It would also have to notify Nottinghamshire County Council.
The fracking process would involve drilling up to 10,000 ft below ground and then horizontally by more than a mile, opening up fissures in the rock to extract gas.
Lynn Calder, commercial director at Ineos Shale, which holds a Government licence to explore for the fossil fuel in areas including parts of north Nottinghamshire, said: “Legal action has been the last resort and we have used powers which prevent landowners from blocking projects which benefit the wider community and the nation as a whole.
“These surveys are both routine and necessary across the UK, including on National Trust land.
“The National Trust’s position is very disappointing as we have had positive relationships with a range of stakeholders and landowners during surveys.
“We have addressed a variety of stakeholder concerns in the past and are sorry the National Trust wouldn’t even have discussions with us in this case owing to a political objection to shale gas.
“Ineos’ continued investment in shale represents the confidence that it has in its long-term potential.
“If shale gas proves to be successful in the UK, it will keep energy bills low and provide the UK economy with highly competitive energy and it provides enormous levels of investment and jobs in the north of England where they are desperately needed.
“Manufacturing jobs are not created without investment and there is precious little investment in the north of England in manufacturing.
“Recent figures on jobs and investment estimate that the shale industry is expected to bring in £33 billion of investment into England alone over the next two decades.”