Planning Committee – 3 July 2017

AGENDA 

1.       Substitutions.

2.       Declarations of Disclosable Pecuniary Interests and Personal or Personal and Prejudicial Interests, significant contact with applicants, objectors or third parties (Lobbying) and Whipping Arrangements (if any).

3.           To take the minutes of the meeting held on 24 May 2017 as a correct record and authorise the chairman to sign.

4.           Major Planning Applications

5.           Any other items, which the chairman decides are urgent, by reasons of special circumstances, which must be specified.

Note: All reports are by the Group Manager – Development Management and Building Control unless otherwise stated.

MINUTES

PRESENT:-  Councillor N Sherwood (Chairman)

Councillors Ogg (Vice-Chairman), Bainbridge, J. Davison, Glover, Grant, Kataria, Kirk, Longcake and Wells.

Councillor(s) Briggs, Marper, Mumby-Croft and O’Sullivan attended the meeting in accordance with Procedure Rule 37(b).

The committee met at Civic Centre, Scunthorpe.

1822   DECLARATIONS OF PERSONAL OR PERSONAL AND PREJUDICIAL INTERESTS, SIGNIFICANT CONTACT WITH APPLICANTS OR THIRD PARTIES (LOBBYING) AND WHIPPING ARRANGEMENTS (IF ANY).
The following members declared a personal interest:-

Member(s) Minute Application(s) Nature of Interest
 

Cllr Bainbridge

 

1824(i)

 

PA/2017/696

 

Member of the Unite Union.

 

Cllr Grant

 

 

Cllr Kirk

 

1824(i)

 

 

1824(i)

 

PA/2017/696

 

 

PA/2017/696

 

Member of the Unite Union.

 

Was at the previous planning meeting when the preceeding application was discussed.

The following members declared that they had been lobbied:-

Member(s) Application(s) Minute
 

Cllr Bainbridge

 

PA/2017/696

 

1824(i)

 

Cllr J Davison

 

Cllr Glover

 

 

Cllr Grant

 

Cllr Longcake

 

 

Cllr Ogg

 

 

Cllr N Sherwood

 

Cllr Wells

 

PA/2017/696

 

PA/2017/696 &

PA/2017/268

 

PA/2017/696

 

PA/2017/696 &

PA/2017/268

 

PA/2017/696 &

PA/2017/268

 

PA/2017/696

 

PA/2017/696 &

PA/2017/268

 

1824(i)

 

1824(i)

1824(ii)

 

1824(i)

 

 

1824(i)

1824(ii)

 

1824(i)

1824(ii)

 

1824(i)

 

1824(i)

1824(ii)

 

1823   MINUTES – Resolved – That the minutes of the proceedings of the meeting held on 24 May 2017, having been printed and circulated amongst the members, be taken as read and correctly recorded and be signed by the Chairman.

1824   (44)  MAJOR APPLICATIONS – The Director: Operations submitted a report containing details of major applications for determination by the committee, including summaries of policy context, representations arising from consultation and publicity and assessment of the applications.

(i)       PA/2017/696 by My Mark Abbott, Egdon Resources UK Ltd for planning permission for the retention of the existing ‘Wressle-1 Well’ well site and access road for long-term production of hydrocarbons (resubmission of MIN/2016/810) at Lodge Farm, Clapp Gate, Appleby, DN15 0DB.

The Group Manager – Development Management and Building Control updated the committee and informed it that following publication of the report another 20 additional objections had been received, and that they reiterated the concerns received from previous objections as detailed in the officer’s report.

Five objectors addressed the committee each for the duration of five minutes and raised a number of concerns with regard to the application. In summary the majority of concerns were as follows:-

Policy Issues:-

The Proposal would be contrary to Policy CS18 of the North Lincolnshire Core Strategy that stated that ‘The Council would actively promote development that utilised natural resources as efficiently and sustainably as possible’. They also indicated that the applicant had failed to acknowledge that contributing to carbon emissions through production of hydrocarbons was the opposite of sustainable development.

Operational Issues:-

They felt that the applicants were misleading by disassociating their proposal from fracking, as the key features defining fracking would include fluid proppant being injected at very high pressure to open and keep open fractures in target rock.  This was exactly what proppant squeeze was designed to do and therefore they believed that it was fracking.

They also had concerns with regards to the wells and the toxic chemicals proposed for use on the site, highlighting that hydrofluoric acid was extremely dangerous, and their worries were that the site would rely on self-regulation, and believed that had failed in other instances.

One of the objectors stated that the proposal included a range of industrial chemicals (hydrocarbon fuels, lubricants, acids, solvents and proppants).  They felt the applicants could not guarantee 100% failsafe handling at the Wressle site.

Climate Change:-

The objectors felt that there were sufficient oil reserves in the North Sea, and that the proposal would increase dependence on fossil fuels and thereby delay the switch to clean, renewable energy.  They felt that the development would result in the release of methane into the atmosphere.

Hydrology and Hydrogeology:-

A number of objectors raised strong concerns about the residential properties in the area, and in particular the water sources supplied to the properties.  They stated that the site was in an area of hydrogeological sensitivity that was a Groundwater Vulnerability Zone close to several aquifers and Ella Beck.  They said there was no guarantee that these water sources would not be contaminated via spills and leaks.

Landscape:-

They felt that the development would destroy part of the countryside, and were worried about the nature reserve and ancient woodland around the site.  They had concerns that the light, noise and air quality impacts of the development would impact on the protected species.

Noise:-

Concerns were raised about the potential for increased noise in the area.  24 hour drilling over several weeks, with compressors and pumps working daily, along with the potential for traffic noise from increased HGV’s.

General:-

There were also issues raised in general around the highways infrastructure in particular the B1208/A18 junction that was unsuitable for a large increase in HGV traffic, and the fact that they would be carrying dangerous chemicals to the site.

A response had also been received on behalf of British Steel, who objected to the previous application on the site.  Since then the committee was informed that they had met with the applicants and based on the information they had received they confirmed that the proposed activities would not impact on their  boreholes or pumping station, and on that basis British Steel raised no objection to the application.  However, a representative from the Unite Union at British Steel, on behalf of their members who worked at the steel works, were not happy with the application, and had a number of concerns including the possibility of contamination, and damage to the clapgate bore hole.

The applicant and their agents then had 25 minutes to address the committee to try and alleviate some of the concerns raised above by the objectors, and to inform it of the processes and procedures to be used.  The agent also referred to the previous application that was refused, and indicated that the officer’s report addressed all the concerns with the risk of ground and surface contamination through the permit regime. The agent tried to assure the committee that the application was not fracking through the back door, and it was low carbon energy supply to try and accommodate the increased energy demand for the future in the UK.

Reference was made to ‘proppant squeeze’ and they stated that this was not a form of fracking.  It was where a slurry of sand and gelled water was injected through the perforations in the casing into the surrounding rock to enhance flow through the near-wellbore sandstone formation.  It was pumped under pressure to create small fractures in the near wellbore area to allow the well to flow efficiently. It would only affect an area of a few metres around the well.

They explained the difference between fracking used to produce oil and gas from shale or strata encased in shale, and the poppant squeeze as outline in the proposal.

The applicant referred to completing the acidisation first, and if that did not work it would not be repeated again. Secondly it would be prop and squeeze and if that did not work it would not be repeated. The final option was radial drilling. He also indicated that the proposal requested was the same as that used at the nearby Crosby Warren that caused no problems, and no harm to the ground water.

The committee was also informed that there was a very robust framework followed by the Environment Agency for permit regulations, and if there was any sign of any risk to ground water then the Environment Agency would not issue a permit.

Councillor Mumby-Croft  spoke as the local ward member and indicated she had heard nothing different to the last time it was brought to committee, and therefore still objected to it  on the following grounds :- how could the membrane around the site capture spillages, what would the effects be on the ground water in the area, and how serious would the risk be on the membrane being breached, and where will the site water come from?

Cllr Glover had called in the application due to significant public interest, and agreed with the previous speaker that nothing had changed since they refused the last application.

Cllr Grant felt that the application was much more detailed this time, but still had concerns and therefore could not be satisfied if it was fracking, or was not fracking?  He said he would have to vote against the application as he was not confident with the information he had received.

Moved by Cllr Grant and seconded by Cllr Glover –

That planning permission be refused for the following reason:-

Insufficient information has been submitted in support of the planning application to allay the concerns of the local planning authority with regard to ground contamination from both water run-off and the infiltration of water used in the development into water courses. The proposal would therefore have an unacceptable impact on local residents, community and the local economy. The proposed development is therefore considered to be contrary to saved policies M23, DS13 and DS15 of the North Lincolnshire Local Plan (2003) and policy CS18 of the North Lincolnshire Core Strategy (2011).

Motion Carried.

(ii)  PA/2017/268 by Mr Mark Abbott, Egdon Resources UK Ltd for variation of condition 24 of MIN/2013/0281 to allow the retention of the well site for a further twelve months at Lodge Farm, Calpp Gate, Appleby, DN15 0DB

A number of objectors spoke against the application.  They covered areas of concerns as follows: previous application was refused, so there should be no requirement to retain the permission to process at the site, it was a temporary planning permission for three years and should not be extended past the expiry date, the applicants had already had 49 weeks ‘exploratory’ on the site why did they need anymore. And that the condition should not be open to variation based on the applicant’s assumption that they would gain future planning consent.

The agent for the application informed the committee that the permission was due to end April 2017, but due to their being an appeal in the pipeline they required this permission to remain until the appeal had been determined.  He indicated that there had been no changes to the original application that was previously approved, and they were simply looking to extend it for a further 12 months with no unacceptable impact on the area, and no adverse comments from North Lincolnshire Council.

Cllr Mumby-Croft spoke as a local ward member and said the three year limit that was conditioned on the original application should be adhered to.  She felt there was a three year limit set for a reason and that it should not be extended.

Cllr Grant stated there was no reason to refuse the application, as he felt one more year would not cause any problems as it was permission that had previously been approved.

Moved by Cllr Grant and seconded by Cllr Kirk –

That planning permission be granted in accordance with the recommendations contained within the report.

Motion Lost.

It was then moved by Cllr Glover and seconded by Cllr J Davison –

That planning permission be refused for the following reason:-

Exploratory works have been completed and there is no justified reason to extend the time period for restoration of the site. Therefore the proposed variation of condition 24 is contrary to policy M21 of the North Lincolnshire Local Plan.

Motion Carried.

Reports