New move on fracking plan for Keynsham
An energy company has upped the ante in its plans to extract shale gas at Keynsham.
UK Methane has withdrawn a planning application for test drilling at Hicks Gate, and says it will now apply for a full production facility there.
It is facing stiff opposition from environmental campaigners who fear that the extraction process - known as fracking - will contaminate Bath's hot springs and cause other pollution.
The firm claims the process - cleared by the Government after a tremor scare linked to a drilling rig in Lancashire - is a solution to the country's looming energy crisis.
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More than 500 people have objected to the test drilling plans submitted to Bath and North East Somerset Council.
In a letter to the council withdrawing that application, UK Methane director Gerwyn Llewellyn Williams says the planning process has become so demanding it will now skip the test drilling consent stage.
"The level of information that is being requested is far higher than that for any other previous planning application that we have been involved with in other parts of the country; we feel therefore, for the extra amount of work that is involved, that we will apply for a full production permission. Central government has carried out enough work to prove that shale gas production is safe and has recently lifted the moratorium on fracking."