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Woodsetts – a brilliant result

Tomo Thompson
By Tomo Thompson
8th June 2022

Fracking threat to Rotherham Green Belt averted

CPRE the countryside charity are celebrating after the Government yesterday refused permission for test fracking near Woodsetts, part of Rotherham’s Green Belt.

The Secretary of State, Michael Gove, has gone against a planning inspector’s recommendations and concluded that damage to local countryside and residents’ amenity was too much and outweighed any benefits of shale gas exploration.

Mr Gove’s decision follows a public inquiry held by the planning inspector nearly three years ago.

CPRE Peak District and South Yorkshire (PDSY) took part in the inquiry, working closely with local group Woodsetts Against Fracking, who led the charge on damage to the Green Belt and impacts on village life.

We gave crucial evidence which, in part, persuaded the Secretary of State to re-evaluate the weight given to the benefits of fracking.

CPRE argued that a recent legal case (the ‘Talk Fracking’ judgment) meant Government support for fracking was reduced.

This court case had shown that the Government’s in-principle support for fracking had not been tested against scientific evidence of the need to reduce carbon emissions, and hence was unlawful.

The Government subsequently revised its National Planning Policy Framework to reflect the ruling.

Andy Tickle, CPRE PDSY’s Head of Campaigns said: “We’re over the moon with this result. Mr Gove’s decision now firmly shuts the door on the idea that fracking is part of our energy future, in part because of its heavy impact on the countryside and its communities.”

There are now no planning threats from fracking to South Yorkshire’s countryside, as previous permissions for test fracking at Harthill (Rotherham) and Eckington (NE Derbyshire) have now lapsed.

The fact that South Yorkshire is now ‘frack free’ is a massive tribute to the huge amount of work done by local communities. Local anti-fracking groups and national organisations such as CPRE and Friends of the Earth have all worked together in common cause to avert this threat to countryside and climate” added Andy Tickle.