Sherwood Forest in fracker's sights despite reassurances, says FoE

A chemicals multinational has identified a potential shale gas drilling site in the heart of Sherwood Forest despite having earlier said it had no intention of drilling inside the Nottinghamshire forest, Friends of the Earth claims.

Image: Monika Kostera (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Image: Monika Kostera (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Correspondence between London-based INEOS' land surveyors and the Forestry Commission, obtained by Friends of the Earth using Freedom of Information requests, reveals that they plan to put at least one drilling rig in The Lings, on the forest's western edge.

The correspondence also contains maps showing the proposed well site in The Lings, just 500m from the Thynghowe, an ancient Viking assembly sits, and within the boundary of the proposed Sherwood Forest Regional Park in an area identified as "The Heart of the Forest".

INEOS recently took out a two-page colour advertisement in local newspapers, saying: "Despite what people may have read or heard, we have no intention of placing drilling rigs for shale wells inside the forest now or in the future."

Friends of the Earth campaigner Guy Shrubsole said: "We already knew INEOS wanted to explore for shale gas in Sherwood Forest by carrying out seismic surveys. Now, despite their assurances, we see they want to drill there, too, having no qualms about drilling in what they call 'arguably the most famous forest in the world'."

The government awarded Ineos a Petroleum Exploration and Development Licence in December 2015, allowing it to purse a range of oil and gas exploration activities in the area. But the RSPB and the National Trust, which owns Clumber Park within the forest, have also objected to any fracking.

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