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Shale gas and hydraulic fracturing (fracking)

Hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking, is a process used to remove gas and oil from shale rock deep in the ground.


Derbyshire has a long and varied history of quarrying and mining. It has significant reserves of oil and gas from unconventional sources like coal bed methane and shale gas.

Fracking has never been carried out in Derbyshire but private companies licensed by the Oil and Gas Authority are investigating the potential for carrying out this process commercially in Derbyshire.

The fracking process involves drilling deep into the ground and injecting water, sand and chemicals at high pressure to create tiny cracks or fractures. Shale gas can then flow up a well to the surface and be collected.

It can be carried out vertically or, more commonly, by drilling down for a distance of around 1.5 miles and then drilling horizontally into the shale.

The national approach to fracking is set by the Government, but we also have an important role to play in deciding whether or not to grant planning permission for a fracking well.

Find out more about the Government’s views on fracking.

Areas of the UK where shale gas applications have been given planning permission include North Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire and Lancashire.

The Oil and Gas Authority granted licenses in 11 areas of Derbyshire to three companies called Ineos, Warwick and Egdon. This does not mean they have planning permission to carry out fracking in these areas.

Find out which company has been granted licenses in Derbyshire and where.

The first to request planning permission is INEOS which has submitted an application for a plot of privately-owned land off Bramleymoor Lane near Marsh Lane.

INEOS has also formally notified us that it intends to carry out a 3D seismic survey across parts of Derbyshire for six months from early June 2017.

The survey area covers approximately of 35 sq miles in Derbyshire in the Bolsover and North East Derbyshire area. Parts of Nottinghamshire and Rotherham will also be included in the survey which will help INEOS to gain a better understanding of the geology and rock formations below the ground to understand where shale gas might be located. This will help the company to identify sites where future shale gas development could potentially carried out.

Subject to certain restrictions and giving us prior notification, planning permission is not generally required for the survey as Government planning rules state it is ‘permitted development’.

No hydraulic fracturing would be carried out as part of the survey, which is expected to start on 5 June 2017 and any future development would require full planning permission.

Formal notification from INEOS about the seismic survey, including a map, is attached to this page.

In this section you will find information and regular updates including answers to the questions people most often ask, including: