Fracking plans go under the spotlight
By Bath Chronicle | Thursday, October 18, 2012, 11:00
A public meeting has been called to discuss plans for fracking under land at Keynsham.
Specialist firm UK Methane has lodged a planning application to drill a borehole on land near the Hick's Gate roundabout, to see whether extracting methane gas is viable.
But campaigners say the move could damage the environment and that more eco-friendly energy solutions should be considered instead.
The meeting next Tuesday has been organised by Transition Keynsham and Frack- Free Somerset, and campaigner Laura Corfield said the event would be a good way for people to learn more about other energy options.
"We've organised a meeting because there is no other way for people to find out what is happening and the possible consequences for this sort of drilling to happen in the local community," she said.
"It is to inform people about the drilling and to inform people about the energy shortage in the UK and the fact there's only about 20 years of coal bed methane as an energy source. We think it is better to look at ways of producing more renewable energy now as that is going to have to be done anyway in 20 years time – so why not do it now?"
The drilling would take place on land between Durley Hill and the Keynsham bypass to the south east of the roundabout.
Gerwyn Williams, from UK Methane, agreed that it was important to harness other energy sources but argued that coal bed methane was an important energy option.
He pointed out that a recent report from regulator Ofgem had raised the spectre of an increased risk of power cuts in 2015.
"We (the nation) should be investing in other forms of energy. There is no one source. There are huge tidal resources in the Bristol Channel and wind energy for example, but in the meantime if we don't do something quickly, the Government has announced there will be power cuts after 2015."
The meeting will also see a discussion about projects such as the installation of solar panels on public buildings in Keynsham and the option of hydro-electric power on the River Avon.
Bath MP Don Foster and B&NES Council fear work to extract coal bed methane and shale gas could disturb Bath's hot springs.
Mr Williams said residents' fears were unfounded and that Bath's hot springs would not be affected.
He also said that drilling operation would be low profile.
"People would not see it (the drilling) on that site," he said. "There is a high hedge that you can't see over and the dual carriageway on one side and an A road on the other.
"People are not going to notice it at all."
The meeting takes place on Tuesday, October 23 at the Royal British Legion in Charlton Road, Keynsham from 7.30pm to 9.30pm.