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Decision over coalbed methane drilling delayed again

World Coal,

Dart Energy’s proposed coalbed methane (CBM) drilling plan in Shropshire, UK, will remain in limbo over the Christmas period.

Shropshire Council has once more delayed making a final decision on the planning application to begin CBM drilling at Duddleston Heath, near Ellesmere.

The council previously announced the planning application would be considered at the next planning committee meeting on 16 December.

However, officers claimed they needed more information about the application, so the item will not be discussed until the New Year.

Shelley Davies, planning committee officer, said: "Due to the concerns raised in the last meeting officers went back to the applicant for more information. The information is not ready to be discussed so therefore we could not put the item on the agenda. It will be discussed after Christmas."

In October members of Shropshire Council’s Planning Committee unanimously said they were minded to oppose plans for a temporary exploratory borehole for coal bed methane in Dudleston Heath, near Ellesmere, with a decision set to be taken at a later date.

They said the impact on local people and the environment was too significant for it to be approved.

The council has received a number of objections from the public in regard to the planned drilling operation.

Many campaigners against the planned site have confused the plan to drill for CBM with plans to use hydraulic fracturing – or ‘fraccing’ – to extract shale gas.

Dart Energy, however, has insisted any drilling work would be small scale and carried out safely.

The company said the exploratory drilling operation would last for a maximum of 60 days and the land would then be restored.  

Written by Sam Dodson

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