Ineos given permission to take High Court action for fracking survey

A bid by energy giant Ineos to carry out a fracking survey on National Trust land is to be heard in court.

The company has been granted permission to pursue its application to undertake a geophysical survey in Clumber Park, Nottinghamshire, to the High Court.

Lynn Calder, commercial director of Ineos Shale, said: "Legal action has been the last resort and we have used powers which prevent landowners from blocking projects which benefit the wider community and the nation as a whole.

"These surveys are both routine and necessary across the UK, including on National Trust land.

"The National Trust's position is very disappointing as we have had positive relationships with a range of stakeholders and landowners during surveys.

"We have addressed a variety of stakeholder concerns in the past and are sorry the National Trust wouldn't even have discussions with us in this case owing to a political objection to shale gas."

The National Trust said: "Our founding principle is to protect the beautiful places in our care, and we believe Ineos has not yet followed the proper planning process, which would involve them fully considering the potential environmental impacts.

"Clumber Park is a Grade I listed park and gardens, much of which is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, and visited by over half a million people each year.

"In our view, Ineos haven't demonstrated to the Trust why it is necessary to carry out any surveys here or address our other reasons for refusing to grant access.

"We have no wish for our land to play any part in extracting gas or oil. We are already seeing the impacts of climate change at many of our places, and we have launched a programme to dramatically cut our own fossil fuel usage at our properties."

Ineos said if shale gas proves to be successful it provides the UK economy with competitive energy as well as investment and jobs in the North of England.

Guy Shrubsole, Friends of the Earth campaigner, said: "A huge fracking firm suing the National Trust to test for shale gas within the historic Sherwood Forest area will make people wonder what is sacred any more.

"The spirit of Robin Hood will be bridling at these bully-boy tactics."