No fracking vow by energy bosses

Energy bosses have dismissed concerns raised by anti-fracking campaigners over plans for gas drilling in north Shropshire.

No fracking vow by energy bosses

Dart Energy has applied to operate an exploratory borehole in Dudleston Heath, near Ellesmere, for coal bed methane extraction.

But, with hundreds of objections to the plans, along with petitions from campaigners Frack-Free Dudleston (FFD), the proposal has come under fire, with concerns raised about health and environmental safety.

In response, Dart Energy has released a report dismissing the group's claims, saying many of them are based on a "misunderstanding of the proposal".

Anti-fracking protest at Duddleston Village Hall

It said it was important that people were aware the company would not be fracking for shale gas on the site, and that it was to be used only for coal bed methane purposes.

And in response to FFD's questioning the of the development's benefits, it said: "This is a poorly disguised attempt to expand this planning application into a hypothetical development scenario and should be disregarded.

"Mineral exploration is a vital step in enabling extraction to be undertaken on a commercial scale.

"While not all test sites will lead to commercial exploitation of a resource, the exploration enables a greater understanding of the geology of the area as a whole.

Anti-fracking protesters outside after they occupied the headquarters of Lichfield-based energy company Cuadrilla.

"The core samples that are recovered will be retained by the British Geological Survey (BGS) for future reference."

With the plans set on land north west of The Brooklands farm in the village, many have also claimed that Shropshire will not be a suitable site for the extraction.

But Dart Energy has disagreed and said other reports put Shropshire midway between areas where the deepest deposits are found, and that the "history of extensive coal mining" gives the area high potential for coal bed methane.

The report also dismissed fears of gas flaring and potential explosions, as well as assuring campaigners that the energy firm would be working with the council to ensure a "robust and safe system of site management".

With regards to the health of local residents, Dart Energy said the application was only for mineral development where there "there are no unacceptable adverse impacts on human health".

An anti-fracking demonstration in West Sussex

But FFD has said some of the points are "inaccurate" and that the group would be looking into the report.

Chris Hesketh, group spokesman, said: "We will most definitely be looking at the response and I hope to have a detailed analysis of it soon.

"It is an issue that has got a huge local reaction, with hundreds of objections on the application so it is really important we look into it and make sure the issues are addressed."

A decision ON the application was expected to be made around mid-September but the deadline has since been pushed back to later in the year.

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