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Government to rule on coalbed methane plans

World Coal,

The Scottish Government is to make the final ruling on two coalbed methane (CBM) projects, after it took over the decision on two planning appeals for production of the unconventional resource.

Dart Energy had applied to Falkirk and Stirling councils for permission to drill into coal seams in search of gas at 14 sites in Airth and the Forth Valley.

However, Scottish Ministers have now announced they will make the final decision over the appeal for the proposed development sites.

The government said the decision to recall the planning appeals was "in line with the government's cautious, considered and evidence-based approach to unconventional oil and gas extraction in Scotland".

Planning Minister, Derek Mackay, said: "Ministers have recalled Dart Energy's planning appeal for the proposed development of coal bed methane production at a number of sites in central Scotland.”

"The decision has been taken in light of the considerable public interest in the proposals, as well as its relevance to the implementation of the new recently updated Scottish planning policy. Scottish ministers, therefore, believe there is a national interest that would be best served by further scrutiny of these proposals," Mackay added.

The production of CBM at the site would not involve hydraulic fracturing – despite eco-activist groups’ claims to the contrary.

The proposal, over an area straddling the Falkirk and Stirling council boundary, would see 22 wells drilled and a gas delivery and water treatment facility built along with associated infrastructure.

The plans were initially submitted to the Directorate of Planning and Environmental Appeals (DPEA) in the summer of 2013. 

Written by Sam Dodson

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