Wrexham fracking concerns rise to the surface

Reporter:

Staff reporter (Leader Live)

A MULTINATIONAL firm which has applied to test drill for methane under Wrexham has moved to allay fears it could use controversial ‘fracking’ techniques in the future.

The plans by GP Energy Ltd to test drill a borehole to explore for coal bed methane more than 1,000 metres underground will be considered by Wrexham Council later this year.

If approved, the drilling site would be on land near Cotton Wood Farm near Borras, Wrexham.

The site is about two miles from the River Dee and opponents have voiced concerns that the test drilling could be a precursor to hydraulic fracturing, better known as fracking.

But Dart Energy, which owns GP Energy, said it has no plans for fracking in the area and says the well will be cemented over once exploration has taken place.

A company spokesman said: “Dart Energy can confirm the planning application is for the drilling of a coal bed methane exploration well which is temporary in nature and will be fully cemented up on completion of the operation.

“The purpose of the well is to extract a core (sample) from the coal seam in order to test the methane content in a laboratory.

“As with similar wells in the past, Dart Energy has no plans to frack this well and is not seeking permission to frack the well from either the local authority or the Environment Agency.”

But Luke Ashley, a local resident and spokesman for the newly launched North-East Wales Against Fracking Action, said the group would be urging Wrexham Council planners to throw out the application.

“We believe the plans will come before the planning committee next month and we will be lobbying councillors to make sure they know all the facts,” he said.

Mr Ashley said the group feared fracking – which involves pumping water mixed with sand and chemicals into the ground at high pressure to create cracks in the rock which release gas – at the Cotton Wood Farm site could lead to a leak of chemicals into drinking water supplies in the nearby River Dee.  Water is taken out further down the Dee by three water companies: Welsh Water, Dee Valley Water and United Utilities.

Mr Ashley added: “We are linking up with fellow activists in the southern Welsh coalfield, Scotland and England.”

He said the campaign group plans to hold a public meeting to inform people about the potential dangers of fracking at the Saith Seren on Chester Street, Wrexham, at 7pm on Tuesday.

See full story in the Leader

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