Dismay over Planning Inquiry decision
Alun Cairns MP for the Vale of Glamorgan has expressed his dismay at the decision by the Planning Inspector to grant planning permission for the exploration for shale gas at a bore hole in Llandow.
The Vale of Glamorgan Council’s Planning Councillors had turned down the application for an exploratory bore hole to search for shale gas at the site in the Western Vale during 2011.
The Vale MP, along with many residents, businesses and local campaigners had submitted their objections to the Planning Inspectorate as part of the Public Inquiry process. Mr Cairns also appeared at the Inquiry in Barry last month to make sure that the concerns of his constituents were heard.
Campaigners against the planning application are however pleased that the freeholder of the land, John Winslade of LEL properties and Ledley Engineering, confirmed that it is not in the terms to permit drilling on the site. The implementation of the activity proposed in the Planning Appeal would be prohibited under the terms of the lease.
Mr Cairns said:
“I’m bitterly disappointed with the decision to allow the appeal and grant planning permission for the exploration for shale gas at Llandow.
“I and many local residents and businesses are very concerned about the effects of the exploration process for shale gas, and the potential ‘fracking’ procedure for its extraction if the gas is indeed found below ground.
“We are all however delighted that the owner of the site, John Winslade of LEL properties and Ledley Engineering, had confirmed in his submission to the Inquiry that the terms of the lease do not permit drilling on the site and that he was not prepared to consider varying the terms of the lease.
“My prime concerns relate to the fact that if millions of pounds worth of gas is found during any exploration, then the weight of the argument will sway in favour of the developer and extraction.
“The Vale is a great place to live and work; and I want it to remain that way. The small rural villages, the fantastic coastline, country roads and a focus on agriculture to the west and the vibrancy of Barry, Wales’ largest town to the east, with its own coastline, history and heritage. Any future gas exploration could put this at risk.
“I trust that the Local Planners, Environment Agency and Welsh Water will keep a close watch on the exploration process, to ensure that all the restrictions noted by the Planning Inspector are adhered to – from keeping noise to within the designated levels, and drilling to take place within a strict reduction of hours.
“Sadly the Welsh Government has remained resolutely on the fence when they should have been taking a lead and provided clear and informed guidance to Local Planning Authorities on fracking.”