Government verdict brings fracking closer
A COMPANY is one step closer to pressing ahead with a "fracking" scheme in Keynsham following a controversial Government ruling.
Hundreds of people have voiced their objections against a proposal to carry out tests to look at the possibility of carrying out gas extraction under land near Keynsham.
As reported in The Post, Methane UK wants to drill at land on Durley Hill, near Hick's Gate roundabout, to see of the land is suitable for gas extraction.
A planning application has gone into Bath & North East Somerset Council, asking for permission to test the land.
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Many people believe fracking – a procedure which involves pumping down fluids at high pressure to fracture underground rocks, releasing trapped gas – is dangerous and causes environmental damage.
Hundreds of people have officially objected to the Keynsham scheme, and meetings and demonstrations have been held in the area.
There have been similar protests across the country and there are claims similar schemes in Lancashire led to two small earthquakes. As a result of the tremors, fracking schemes in the UK had been put on hold for the last 18 months.
But Energy Secretary Ed Davey said yesterday that fracking could resume, subject to new controls aimed at reducing the risk to the environment.
The Keynsham area is being looked at because of nearby coal seams.
Mr Davey said: "Shale gas represents a promising new potential energy resource for the UK. It could contribute significantly to our energy security, reducing our reliance on imported gas, as we move to a low-carbon economy. We are still in the very early stages of shale gas exploration in the UK and it is likely to develop slowly.
"It is essential its development should not come at the expense of local communities or the environment. We are strengthening the stringent regime already in place with new controls around seismic risks. And, as the industry develops, we will remain vigilant to all emerging evidence to ensure fracking is safe and the local environment is protected."
Friends of the Earth executive director Andy Atkins said: "Communities will be disturbed by this reckless decision, which threatens to contaminate our air and water and undermine national climate targets."
Around 560 people have called for Bath & North East Somerset Council not to allow the specialist company to see whether extracting methane gas is viable, saying it could do environmental damage.
Objector Adam Hudson, from Bristol, said: "This is the beginning of more dangerous and damaging ways of desperately trying to get more fossil fuels from the earth."
Methane UK director Gerwyn Williams has previously insisted its processes were already used safely worldwide and extracting coal bed methane was an important energy option for the country, as part of its future mix of energy sources.