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Dart Energy defends plans to drill for coalbed methane in Wales

World Coal,

IGas Energy-owned onshore explorer Dart Energy has rejected claims its coalbed methane (CBM) exploration plans in north Wales could desecrate the graves of miners killed in a historic mining disaster.

Campaigners have raised concerns that the company’s plans to drill an exploratory bore hole at Borras Holt, near Wrexham, because of its proximity to the site of 1934’s Gresford coal mine disaster, according to a report by the Daily Mirror.

More than 260 mine workers died in one of the UK’s worst mining disasters – and many of the victims’ remains were never recovered.

Locals have said any drilling or hydraulic fracturing near the disaster site is an insult. However, Dart Energy has defended its position.

The explorer said: “The idea that we will be drilling into where bodies are buried is incorrect. The proximity to the disaster site was fully considered by Dart Energy and the relevant authorities at the time of the planning application and it was concluded that there would be no effect on the disaster zone”.

“The borehole is in fact over a kilometre distant from the nearest mined seam and more than 1.5 km from the actual disaster zone,” Dart Energy added.

The explorer also pointed out that mining continued at the site for almost 40 years following the disaster, including workings that extended past the location of the accident.

Dart Energy also stressed that there are no plans for hydraulic fracturing at this site. The company said it plans to drill a vertical borehole to recover a sample of rock after which the well will be sealed with cement and the ground restored to its former agricultural use.

The drill application for the CBM probe was rejected by Wrexham County Borough Council in March, even though the council’s planning officer had recommended approval. However, the Planning Inspectorate of Wales overturned the well’s rejection, with planning inspector Clive Nield saying it should be allowed to go ahead as the borehole would have a low-level temporary impact on the site for three to four months and no lasting impact on the landscape.

Edited from various sources by Sam Dodson

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