Work has been suspended at a controversial gas drilling site on the outskirts of Doncaster after the company in charge breached planning laws.
Council chiefs ordered all work to cease at Daneshill Energy Forest, near Bawtry, after the owners Dart Energy Limited failed to construct an adequate access road to the site, where a well is being dug to extract coal-based methane from the ground.
Members of the anti-fracking group, Frack Free South Yorkshire, held a demonstration at the site on Saturday and said the planning breach was further evidence the project was not fit for purpose.
Protestor Pete Kennedy, 23, of Auckland Road, Town Moor, said: “We are concerned about what lies in the future if planning regulations are being breached now. Environmental reports on unconventional processes like fracking have shown it can harm the local water supply and cause noise pollution.”
Dart say they have no plans for fracking, which involves frackturing rock to release gas, but they have been granted a Petroleum Exploration and Development Licence (PEDL) to extract coal-based methane from the ground. The firm started initial works to construct a well last week.
Under the terms of their planning permission, the company must construct a hard floor access route for lorries to use when going to and from the site so mud and other debries are not deposited onto the nearby Daneshill Road, Sutton-cum-Lound.
Sally Gill, Nottinghamshire County Council’s group manager for planning, said the company had started work without constructing a proper access road.
She said: “The county council has requested that the works be suspended until an access to the site has been constructed as approved. The company has confirmed that works have stopped and therefore no enforcement action has been taken. Once the access has been constructed as approved, then the company will be able to resume the development.”
Nobody from Dart was available for comment. A spokesman has previously said they hope to extract coal and test it for methane content.