Will There Be Fracking in Sherwood Forest?

Tuesday 31 January 2017
reading time: min, words

Sherwood Forest has become the latest battleground for fracking, as chemical firm Ineos target the area for a seismic survey...


Campaigners are petitioning the government to block any possible fracking and protect the forest. Online petitions on websites by 38 Degrees and Friends of the Earth have gathered almost 300,000 signatures.

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."

Fracking is the process of injecting liquid at high pressure into subterranean rocks and boreholes to force open existing fissures and extract oil or gas. Ineos, which relocated its headquarters back to the UK at the end of 2016, appears to have agreed terms with the Forestry Commission to spend up to two years using “thumper trucks” or vibroseis machines to search for shale gas.

According to documents obtained under freedom of information request by Friends of the Earth, they could be working within 200 metres of the iconic Major Oak, a 1,000-year old tree that in folklore sheltered Robin Hood and his merry men.


Ineos told the Daily Telegraph that no decision had been made on whether fracking would go ahead under the national nature reserve, adding that “any decision to position a well site will take into account environmental features such as the Major Oak”. 

However, Friends of the Earth fear that the seismic surveys alone could damage the forest, whose core is a site of special scientific interest, and its wildlife, which include rare bats and other protected species as well as ancient woodland.

The RSPB, which is set to take over Sherwood Forest in 2018 issued a statement saying: "The RSPB believes protected sites for nature such as Sherwood Forest National Nature Reserve, SSSIs and European sites should be ruled out by the Government as locations for fracking exploration or operational well-heads."

Ineos is a relatively new player in fracking, but was awarded 21 of the 159 exploration licences handed out by the government last year. Other moves by them to conduct fracking surveys in Nottinghamshire have been rebuffed. The National Trust refused them permission to conduct surveys in Clumber Park near Worksop. Forestry Commission documents also reveal INEOS to be planning an exploratory well at Thieves' Wood, south of Mansfield but no planning application has yet been lodged.

We have a favour to ask

LeftLion is Nottingham’s meeting point for information about what’s going on in our city, from the established organisations to the grassroots. We want to keep what we do free to all to access, but increasingly we are relying on revenue from our readers to continue. Can you spare a few quid each month to support us?

Support LeftLion

Please note, we migrated all recently used accounts to the new site, but you will need to request a password reset

Sign in using

Or using your

Forgot password?

Register an account

Password must be at least 8 characters long, have 1 uppercase, 1 lowercase, 1 number and 1 special character.

Forgotten your password?

Reset your password?

Password must be at least 8 characters long, have 1 uppercase, 1 lowercase, 1 number and 1 special character.