Campaigners object to Dudleston coal bed methane plans

Protest camp at Dudleston Protesters said they would stay at the site until a decision was made on the planning application

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A protest camp has been set up at a proposed gas drilling site in north Shropshire.

Dart Energy has applied for permission to dig a test borehole to check for coal bed methane on farmland in Dudleston, near Ellesmere.

The planning application is due to be decided by Shropshire Council by 15 September.

About a dozen people have set up a camp and said they would stay at least until the council made its decision.

The protesters, from Say No To Fracking, said coal bed methane drilling was "too much of an environmental risk" and called on the government to look at why people across the country were campaigning against various forms of gas extraction.

They said there was a danger of water contamination.

Coal bed methane involves drilling down to a coal seam and then removing water to stimulate the flow of methane, which can then be used to produce energy.

Dart Energy was granted planning permission to create a test borehole at the site in 2010, but it expired last year.

The latest plans include drilling a 830m-deep (2,720ft) borehole at the site. If approved by the council, it would remain for a maximum of two months, after which it would be sealed.

Dart Energy has previously said a steel pipe would be inserted into the borehole to stop water being affected.

Regardless of the council's decision on the test borehole, full-scale extraction would require separate planning permission.

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