Hicks Gate drilling plan on the agenda at public meeting

Published on: 02 Oct 2012

Hick's Gate drilling plan on the agenda at public meeting

Residents will be able to find out more about proposals for test drilling for coalbed methane at Hicks Gate when a public meeting is held this month.

Bridgend-based UK Methane Ltd is expected to submit an application this month to B&NES to carry out the exploratory work.

If the test drilling proved gas extraction was viable then the company could make a second application to continue work, drilling into the coal seams to release the gas.

The proposal has already proved controversial, with an online petition by campaigners from Transition Keynsham attracting more than 700 signatures. Writing on the petition, one resident said: “We don’t understand if there will be an impact on the local geology.”

Another added:  “I do not wish to be a ‘nimby’ but it does seem to be very close to both Keynsham, Brislington and busy roads. Is it actually safe?”

Last month, representatives from UK Methane met local campaigners to answer questions on the procedures and safety. An appearance on the panel at a public meeting in Wells was cancelled, according to organisers Frack Free Somerset.  At the Wells meeting, Laura Corfield from Transition Keynsham said:  “If we don’t stop them now, we can expect drilling rigs all over Somerset, endangering our water supplies and local environment.”

Transition Keynsham will be holding a public meeting on October 23 at Keynsham Royal British Legion from 7.30pm.

UK Methane were unavailable for comment at the time of going to press but director Gerwyn Williams has previously told the BBC the processes used are strictly governed and safe.

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