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Anti-fracking campaigners want meeting moved

North Shropshire | News | Published:

Campaigners against gas drilling plans in north Shropshire are hoping that a crucial planning meeting to discuss the issue will be held close to the proposed site so residents can attend.

The Frack Free Dudleston group want Shropshire Council's north planning committee to discuss the proposals by Dart Energy for a temporary drill to test for coal-bed methane should be allowed to go ahead near Ellesmere, to be discussed where locals can easily attend.

Usually planning meetings are held at the Shirehall in Shrewsbury, but campaigners feel this is a unique case.

Chris Hesketh, spokesman for Frack Free Dudleston, said: "In the last few days we have heard that the planning decision will now definitely not be happening in September, as we were previously told.

The provisional new date is October 21 but that could well change. Our local county councillor Steve Davenport is attempting to get the location of the meeting to be moved to Ellesmere to make it easier for local people to attend.

"In some ways the delay is a disappointment because we all want the application to be turned down as soon as possible so we can get on with our lives without the threat of drilling in the neighbourhood.

On the other hand, the delay does increase the chances of the application being refused as more and more evidence is being considered. Also the position is progressively turning against the unconventional gas industry so as the general election approaches the politicians will be starting to think about making promises that appeal to the general public."

Frack Free Dudleston was set up in May and claims allowing Dart Energy to carry out exploratory drilling in the area could open the door for fracking to take place in the future.

Dart Energy has always denied it has any plans to use fracking for shale gas in the county, even though north Shropshire sits on both coal and shale deposits.

The firm says is is only interested in coal-bed methane and insists that once the 60-day temporary period is up the site will be restored to its former condition.

Nearly 500 objections have been made against controversial plans to drill for gas near Ellesmere.

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