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Anti-fracking group calls for ban on gas drilling in Shropshire

North Shropshire | News | Published:

Anti-fracking campaigners are asking Shropshire Council to consider a moratorium which would ban gas exploration drilling in the county.

An anti-fracking demonstration in West Sussex

Members of Frack Free Dudleston have made the call after claiming allowing Dart Energy to carry out exploratory drilling in the area could open the door for fracking to take place in the future.

Chris Hasketh, a spokesman for the campaign group, said he had made the bid to have a moratorium imposed and added he had also discussed the issue with Shropshire Council leader Keith Barrow. He said there was precedent for a moratorium against exploratory drilling as one had been imposed by Cheshire East Council just across the Shropshire border

The Frack Free Dudleston Group, based in the village, was set up earlier this month to fight the plans put forward by Dart Energy. The firm has previously said a planning application could be submitted within weeks if Shropshire Council waives the need for an environmental impact assessment.

The proposals have outraged campaigners who say exploratory drilling for coal-bed methane gas could open the door for controversial fracking for shale gas in future years.

But the firm denies it has any plans to use fracking for shale gas in the county even though north Shropshire sits on both coal and shale, saying it is interested in coal-bed methane only.

Mr Hasketh said: "I have asked the council to consider a moratorium. There is no commitment or promise of it yet but we have asked the question. Of course this has to go through the huge democratic process before anything can be done and we get a proper decision.

"But having met with the council leader Keith Barrow I have every optimism our elected representatives are going to look after us."

"Cheshire East is looking after its people by banning all gas exploration in the area. How good would it be to live in an area like that where you are at peace from this threat?

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"We are at an early stage because an actual planning application has not been submitted yet, but there is a significant risk to our landscape and our health if they are allowed to go ahead.

"But there is real togetherness in Dudleston Heath to fight this, it is amazing."

Mr Hasketh also insisted his anti-fracking group and the village of Dudleston Heath are not nimbys.

He said: "We contest this is not the good for anybody in the country, it is not nimbyism at all. Its bad for the country as a whole.

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"But in Shropshire we have added dangers such as fault lines and coal mines which should not be drilled near.

"Yes we do need to get the energy from somewhere and there are plenty of options fro renewable energy like off shore.

"If we go ahead with these plans then I fear we are backing the wrong horse."

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