Dart Energy has told the public inquiry into its drilling plans for Airth it will fully comply with all the relevent agencies to secure the licences it will need if planning permission to start producing coal bed methane gas commercially is granted by Scottish Government Reporters.
Day 10 of the hearing heard the first Petroleum Exploration Development Licence (PEDL) for Letham Moss had been granted to Composite Energy in the early 1990’s and Dart Energy who later acquired the company has been dealing with Falkirk Council, the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, Health and Safety Executive, UK Department for Energy and Climate Change and the Coal Authority since 2004.
Solicitor Sandy Telfer for Dart Energy explained any company working in the oil and gas industyry seeking a PEDL has to show “competence and due diligence and a history of operational excellence as a whole.” And he told the Reporters: “Under the rights granted by the licence Dart Energy has always demonstrated best practice and shown it has complied with all its terms. Should this planning application be granted Dart Energy will ensure all the licences needed to operate will be secured and the production of the gas very strictly controlled.”
Advocate Sir Crispin Agnew for objectors Concerned Communities of Falkirk asked: “How can due diligence be carried out when the applicant is Dart Energy Forth Valley which is a new company and has no employees?”
Professor Christopher Hilson of Reading Univeristy who has been called as an expert witness on industry laws by Friends of the Earth Scotland said he questionned whether the licences required will protect the environment. He said: “The nature of the controls has to be clarified.”