Fracking has moved a step closer to Worksop after it was revealed that “seismic testing” is being carried out across the town.
Confused dogwalkers and residents in the area have been stumbling on equipment being used by energy company INEOS to determine if shale gas development could be undertaken at the sites.
These include patches of land close to the Bassetlaw Showground and College Pines Gold Club.
“Seismic surveys” are not the same as hydraulic facturing, or “fracking”, but are considered to be a step towards the controversial practice.
Nottinghamshire County Council say that INEOS do not require planning approval to carry out the survey but have promised to stay away from areas of natural beauty, such as Sherwood Forest and Creswell Crags.
Jonathan Smith, development management team manager at Nottinghamshire County Council, said: “Generally speaking, planning permission is not required for this type of activity, as Government planning rules class it as ‘permitted development’.
“However, we have worked with a number of partner organisations and in consultation with INEOS to identify sites and circumstances where restrictions should be applied. We are satisfied that these new restrictions mean the survey can proceed as ‘permitted development’, within the classifications set by Government.”
A resident who lives at Plantation Cottages, close to one of the areas were seismic testing is being carried out, said: “The equipment is everywhere, my dogs keep going up to it and sniffing it. There’s also an acidic smell in the air.
“Few people want fracking to be happen near their homes. We’re concerned that’s will happen if they find the right minerals in the area.”
But INEOS say fracking could actually help the environment as shale gas is “50 per cent cleaner than coal and 30 per cent cleaner than oil”.
The firm also predicts shale gas could bring in “tens of thousands of well-paid jobs” for the UK.