Hicks Gate fracking: UK Methane to apply for full production

A core of shale rock Image copyright bbc
Image caption Gas is a natural by-product of shale rock

An energy company has announced plans to drill for shale gas on land at Keynsham, near Bristol.

UK Methane says it will apply for permission to do this now the government has lifted the moratorium on fracking.

The company said it was withdrawing an application for a test drill and would now submit plans for full production.

More than 500 residents had submitted objections against proposals to extract natural gas in the area.

Contamination fears

Anne Watts, from campaign group Frack Free Somerset, said the process was not safe.

"We don't want our water to be polluted.

"Once fracking takes place contamination of land and water is inevitable," Ms Watts added.

Previously, Bristol East Labour MP Kerry McCarthy had urged Bath and North East Somerset Council to turn down the application for the operation on the site, close to the Hicks Gate roundabout.

UK Methane said it would submit the new application early in January.

"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," a spokesman said.

"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," he added.

Fracking involves drilling a bore hole before a high-pressure water mixture is directed at the rock to release the gas.

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