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Welsh council denies prospective CBM company a license

World Coal,

UK Methane Ltd’s application to test for coalbed methane (CBM) in coal seams near Neath Port Talbot has been rejected by Welsh councillors.

Neath Port Talbot Council’s planning committee rejected plans from the company to drill an exploratory borehole at land within the Foel Fynyddau Forest.

According to Wales Online A two hour debate on the issue was followed by a vote, in which councillors voted by 17 – 6 against the idea, citing potential noise pollution, as well as a lack of planning guidance on the issue, for their decision.

Though this particular CBM project has been denied, there could be more on the horizon soon enough. The Welsh Affairs select committee in Westminster concluded in a report that new sources of gas, including CBM, needed to be found quickly, as energy demand increases. However, the report noted that gas exploration shouldn’t occur at the expense of the environment.

A Department of Energy and Climate Change spokesman said that unconventional gas “could be an opportunity for Wales and exploratory drilling will help us understand how it will contribute”.

Provisional oil and gas drilling licenses have already been granted in parts of South and East Wales, but planning permission is needed for these to progress beyond exploration. 

Edited from various sources by Sam Dodson

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