Shropshire

Gas drilling plans for north Shropshire farmland

Methane drilling could take place in north Shropshire under initial plans put forward by an energy company.

Dart Energy has approached Shropshire Council to check whether an environmental impact survey would be required for an exploratory borehole on farmland in Dudleston, Ellesmere.

The borehole, which would require separate planning permission, would be used to analyse the coal structure.

The firm said it intended to "revive" a bid to drill for coal bed methane.

Results analysed

Planning permission to create a test borehole at the site was granted in 2010, but expired last year.

The process involves drilling down to a coal seam and then siphoning off water to stimulate the flow of methane as a source of energy.

In some cases across the world, high pressure water is pumped down boreholes to force methane up, although Dart said that approach was not appropriate for UK seams.

Coal bed methane drilling has still attracted considerable opposition at other sites in the UK, if not on the same scale as the hydraulic fracturing - or fracking - of shale gas.

Shropshire Council is due to make a decision on the environmental impact survey by 23 April, with a planning application for the test borehole expected to follow.

Dart Energy said drilling would take place over four weeks, before the site is returned to agricultural use while the results are analysed.

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