Campaigners who are fighting off a gas extraction plan yards from people’s homes are victorious once more.
A national planning inspectorate review was undertaken since August into an appeal against the decision to reject the plan.
Yesterday the inspector returned a verdict and has dismissed the eapp from gas company by Seven Star Natural Gas Ltd to dig 900 feet under homes and extract natural gas off Dark Lane, Calow.
The company, a subsidiary of energy giant Alkane Energy PLC who currently have 22 gas extraction sites, have had their eye on the site for the past three years, and already had applications refused twice. Some 100 residents protested at the inspector’s visit in August, who will be overjoyed by the result, as they enjoy another victory in the ongoing battle over the controversial plan.
Margi Senior of the local group Calow Against Gas Extraction said: “The number of sleepless nights, the hours spent pounding the streets delivering leaflets and evenings spent sitting around kitchen tables working on opposing the application during the past three years have been well worth it.
“The residents of Calow are very happy and relieved at the outcome. Now the community of Calow can get on with their lives without this blight to the village.
“A big ‘Thank You’ to each and everyone who has helped and supported us.”
Derbyshire County Council’s original refusal of the plan in June 2014 despite officers’ recommendations was lauded by campaigners as ‘democracy in action. And now the planning inspectorate has weighed the benefits of energy security from the site against the local impact and found it would be too great. In his report released yesterday Inspector Chris Preston said the main issues for refusal were:
• The effect on the character and appearance of the area;
• The effect on the living conditions of surrounding residents from noise, traffic and visual effects;
• The ‘nationally recognised need for gas extraction’ did not outweigh adverse effects
He concluded: “In view of the lack of a demonstrable need to locate the proposal at the appeal site, the weight that should be attributed to mineral extraction does not outweigh the significant harm that would arise from the proposal and the benefits of the proposal in that regard do not amount to a material consideration of sufficient magnitude to outweigh the presumption in favour of the development plan, as set out at section 38(6) of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act.
Conservative county councillor Martyn Ford, who supported the plan when it first came to the council, said previously: “We’ve got to look at long-term solutions to the energy gap this country is facing. Once the coal and oil reserves deplete we will be relying on just wind and solar.
“Natural gas is part of the long-term solution to meet our energy needs, and this proposal is one of many that will be brought forward in the near future.”