Anti-fracking campaigners from the group Frack Free Nottinghamshire were this morning protesting and leafleting Councillors at Nottinghamshire County Council’s County Hall. Campaigners were also joined by anti-fracking protectors carrying with them a homemade paper-mache owl to highlight the significance for the protection of owls.
The protest was based around the concerns that the planning regime is a fraud. This has been demonstrated in the continuous violations of traffic at both the Misson Springs and Tinker Lane exploratory shale gas drilling sites in Bassetlaw, North Nottinghamshire.
Further examples of the failed planning system exist at the site at Misson Springs, as when the application was decided, Councillors expressed concern over the wildlife (including all 5 native species of owls breed) at the Misson Carr SSSI just 125m away from the exploratory drilling site. To remedy this, Councillors requested a condition was implemented to not allow any construction to happen during the bird breeding season (March-August). Just two months into construction, IGas Energy applied for an extension to continue construction into the bird breeding season. Despite hundreds of objections including those by Misson Parish Council and Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, an unelected officer at Nottinghamshire County Council overrode this condition and gave IGas permission to continue until the end of March. And just last week campaigners have discovered that IGas have again asked for yet another extension, fearing that again an unelected officer will approve it and will cause devastation for birds aiming to breed.
Campaigner Brian Davey said:
“We were very encouraged by the number of people who turned up and for the support we got from a number of County Councillors such as Cllr Mike Pringle and Cllr Jason Zadrozny. We made our points strongly about the inadequacies of the planning regime and the way it is all stacked against us. And also how resources are all in the policing of the anti fracking protectors and not in the protection of the public.”
Campaigner Jeannie Thompson said:
“i am very concerned that the local commuity and rare owls in the nearby Assiut are not being protected as our elected councillors agreed. This shows the planning system as it exists now cannot do this protection.”