Sherwood Forest fracking plans revealed

Global chemicals company INEOS wants to frack Sherwood Forest, an investigation by Friends of the Earth has revealed.

Documents obtained through a Freedom of Information request show INEOS – via their land surveyors, Fisher German – to have been in correspondence with the Forestry Commission since August 2016, regarding access to its land.

INEOS wants to carry out "seismic surveys" on numerous public forestry sites – the first stage of prospecting for shale gas, and a precursor to potential fracking.

One of the many shown in the maps and documents released is Sherwood Forest national nature reserve, on land owned by the Forestry Commission and by Lord Inglewood. 

If these plans progress, INEOS' seismic surveys would pass within a few hundred metres of the Major Oak, an 800-year-old tree under whose canopy Robin Hood's merry men and women are said to have slept.

National Trust land

The maps reveal that INEOS also wants to carry out seismic surveys on National Trust land at Clumber Park, a large country estate to the north of Sherwood Forest.

The National Trust has a stated policy that prevents fracking on their properties. 

Exploratory well site at Thieves' Wood

Numerous other sites across Nottinghamshire and the East Midlands are in line for INEOS' seismic surveys.

The Forestry Commission documents also reveal INEOS to be planning an exploratory well at Thieves' Wood, south of Mansfield. No planning application has yet been lodged. 

In the correspondence, Forestry Commission officials advise INEOS' surveyors that the site they propose would get "less push back from the public", but also demand a compensation clause be inserted in their agreement "to cover the costs of protestors". 

You can see Friends of the Earth's interactive map of INEOS's exploration licences and the public forests they plan to carry out seismic surveys in here.

Anti-fracking feeling growing

Anti-fracking feeling is growing rapidly in the East Midlands, with many new community opposition groups forming. A recent meeting in Dronfield attracted 120 people.

Friends of the Earth campaigner Guy Shrubsole said:

"Is nothing sacred? By hunting for shale gas in Sherwood Forest and on National Trust land, chemicals giant INEOS is sticking two fingers up at England's green heritage, all in the pursuit of profit.

"INEOS should back off and drop their quest for fracking. The public wants to protect their English countryside and prefers renewable energy, not dirty shale gas, which will only add to climate change."

Ban fracking now 

Protect Sherwood Forest