Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Public inquiry into Woodsetts frack testing begins

Protest outside Rotherham public inquiry
Image caption Campaigners opposed to the fracking test gathered outside the public inquiry on Tuesday

A public inquiry has begun into plans to frack for shale gas near Rotherham.

The local council turned down an application last year from Ineos to drill a test hole on a site at Woodsetts.

Ineos told the inquiry the initial works were to test the geology.

The was large protest outside the town's council offices on Tuesday and campaigners Woodsetts Against Fracking object to test drilling on the grounds of traffic and noise.

On the opening day of the inquiry it emerged that days before the hearing started, Ineos provided details of a planned 270-metre-long earth wall to protect the village from excess noise, the Local Democracy Reporting Service says.

Some details were provided only on the evening before the hearing starting and, as evidence began, noise experts from Ineos, the council and campaigners were in talks to establish whether the noise mitigation proposed was suitable.

Woodsetts Against Fracking's lawyer Jack Parker told the hearing: "It is accepted it would block views. It would obliterate what was previously an unencumbered view of rolling countryside."

The legal team for Ineos said opposition to fracking was not the point of the inquiry.

Gordon Steele QC said: "Any opposition to fracking is simply not relevant at this inquiry. We only seek permission for what is applied for.

"That is to perform exploratory works over a period of five years, which would involve sinking a test bore to explore the geology of the site.

"To do so would entail setting up a compound for engineers on farmland near the village, and gaining access to that would involve creating a new road."

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