Meeting in Bath to debate fracking as UK Methane waits to make Keynsham move
The contentious issue of gas extraction in the west will be explored at a public meeting in Bath next week.
Gas firm UK Methane and campaign group Frack Free Somerset will be debating plans for hydraulic fracturing – or fracking – and coal bed methane exploration at the event hosted by Bath People’s Assembly on Thursday March 14 at the Friends’ Meeting House in York Street from 7.30pm to 9pm.
Welsh firm UK Methane recently withdrew an application for coal bed methane exploration work at Hicks Gate near Keynsham but says it still intends to apply for planning permission for a full production facility there.
The company and its supporters say such fuel extraction technologies are safe, may benefit the economy and provide a cheap fuel source for the future.
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UK Methane director Gerwyn Williams, who is due to speak at the event, said the firm was now likely to submit a new application at the end of this year or the beginning of next.
He said: “Central government has carried out enough work to prove that shale gas production is safe and has recently lifted the moratorium on fracking.”
But environmentalists are worried about air and water pollution, and even earthquakes and health damage.
Bath and North East Somerset Council is concerned at the possible impact of fracking on the city’s world-famous hot springs, particularly as there is interest from firms in exploring energy potential under the Mendips.
A statement from Frack Free Somerset said: “We are looking forward to having an open debate about fracking, as we feel every local person has a right to be fully informed about fracking and coal bed methane extraction. Once fracking takes place, contamination of land and water is inevitable. You cannot do it safely.”
Entry to the debate is free and there will be time allotted for members of the public to put questions to both groups. Doors open at 7.15pm and the debate will start promptly at 7.30pm. There will be a voluntary collection to cover the cost of the room.
The Bath People’s Assembly describes itself as an independent democratic non-affiliated body for discussion, debate and the formulation of ideas and proposals on local, national and global issues and policies.