Protesters claim gas drilling is pointless in Shropshire
Test drilling for coal in Shropshire would be a complete waste of time, an anti-fracking campaigner has said.
Dart Energy wants permission to drill a temporary coal bed methane exploration borehole on land north west of The Brooklands, Dudleston, near Ellesmere.
But Chris Hesketh, a spokesman for Frack Free Dudleston, said the tests are pointless and could give Shropshire a stigma.
And he warned that applications to drill could flood in across the county when the next batch of licences are issued.
He said: "If this is approved we will have months of pollution and you will be able to smell it from some way away, and this would be 24/7, which would be hideous. Granted, the chances of their being long term damage from the test drills are small as long as it is done properly, but all the evidence from the Government says that actual gas extraction here is not possible, so why go through this first stage in the first place and inflict these coal tests on people?
"In order to extract gas you absolutely need the to have the right circumstances for it to be successful and the company has given no evidence to contradict the Government's geological evidence which says that they won't ge that here."
Mr Hesketh said he was sure the test drilling would not go ahead if Shropshire Council considered the viability of a project as a whole.
But he said the Government's rules meant that each stage of the process had to be judged strictly in isolation.
He added: "If they get this permission then there would be a stigma and people will lose value on their homes and have to sell at a low price, which is not fair for something which is not going to benefit the country at all."
Mr Hesketh, of Dudleston Heath, said there was coal under most of Shropshire, but the majority of areas would not be suitable for coal bed methane extraction.
At a meeting of Shropshire Council last week, members called for more information on unconventional gas exploration.
Council leader, Councillor Keith Barrow said Shropshire Council must deal with the issue seriously.
He warned: "Dudleston is the first of what could be many planning applications for test drilling.
"If we do not get this right there could be consequences that would be around for many generations to come."
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