Woodnesborough shale borehole set for approval

Councillors are expected to approve plans to explore for gas on farmland in Kent which could lead to controversial shale gas extraction.

Coastal Oil and Gas Ltd, based in Mid Glamorgan, wants permission to drill an exploratory borehole at Woodnesborough to test coal and shale for gas.

The company said it mainly wanted to extract methane from coal but did not rule out shale extraction in future.

Residents opposed to the scheme are to protest outside County Hall on Tuesday.

Coastal Oil and Gas has submitted an application for a 12-week permit to test coal, lower limestone shale and the associated rock strata on land next to the junction of the A256 and A257.

Fracking fears

The application, which is recommended for approval, includes provision of a drill rig and site buildings.

Kent Green Party, which opposes the plans, has said it believes that if gas is found in shale at the site, the company would later seek to remove it using the controversial fracking method.

Fracking was used in Lancashire but was suspended after two earthquakes in the county.

A report last month said it was "highly probable" that shale gas test drilling triggered the tremors but said the quakes were due to an "unusual combination of geology at the well site".

Rosemary Rechter, who will be at Tuesday's protest, said people living near the proposed borehole were worried.

"We are concerned because of what it might lead to," she said.

"Even drilling a borehole will go through one of the principle aquifers that provides water to this area.

"It is absolutely essential that everything is precisely right."

A report to the planning committee said 42 letters of objection had been received.

But Dover District Council, Woodnesborough Parish Council, Sandwich Town Council, the Environment Agency and Southern Water do not object to the plans.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites