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Saturday, 8 May 2021

Application for gas drilling planned near Rufford Country Park

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An energy company is hoping to extract gas left behind from coal mining, in a project which could last 25 years.

The application, on land next to Rufford Abbey Registered Parkland, would see three weeks of round-the-clock drilling, while tests are carried out to work out if there is enough gas to make thmape project profitable.

Some of this escaping methane gas would then be set on fire, meaning there would be a flare for part of the three weeks.

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If the scheme was deemed viable, equipment would be set up to capture the escaping gas.

Planning bosses at Nottinghamshire County Council have recommended that the scheme be approved.

Dozens of groups have been consulted about the project, but only one objections has been raised – on highways grounds.

The site is on arable land around 1.5 miles to the south of Ollerton.

The application does not involve, hydraulic fracturing, or ‘fracking’ – a controversial process which involves setting off small explosions underground to release shale gas.

Once a new road had been built to the site, drilling will start for up to three weeks.

The target for the drilling is at a depth of 391m, which developers believe is likely to be one of the last areas to be affected by rising underground mine water.

A 35 metre-high drilling rig would be used, and temporary floodlighting would also be brought in.

Rufford Parish Council, which represents the area, said it does not oppose to the proposal in principle, but that it objects to the construction of a new road on the basis that there are two existing available alternatives.

Archaeological experts at the county council did not formally object but did raise some concerns about the scheme.

They said the proposal was: “Likely to have a limited impact of buried archaeological remains, but given the proximity to the monastic and later country house estate of Rufford, archaeological monitoring of groundworks is advisable to ensure any impacts on previously unknown archaeology are mitigated.

“Of more concern is the potential impact of the scheme on the wider landscape of the registered park and garden.

“The vistas and rides of the present day New Park Wood are basically unchanged from their 18th-century design and layout.

“From the plans, it would appear that one of these rides will culminate with a vista of the proposed drilling rig.”

They said if the scheme was given the go-ahead, on Tuesday, April 23, then conditions: should cover archaeological mitigation and the appropriate restoration of the site.”

County council planners did, however, raise the issue of environmental damage the scheme could cause.

A report found: “Looking at climate change impacts, mine gas being heavily comprised of methane is also capable of acting as a potent greenhouse gas if it is released to the atmosphere (approximately 25 times more potent than Carbon Dioxide, although it does break down over time) and this would be detrimental to the UK’s efforts to avoid damaging climate change through the Climate Change Act and international treaties such as the Paris Agreement.”