Residents living near Dart Energy’s proposed gas extraction development at Airth face the threat of fracking on their doorstep, it has been claimed.
Campaign group Friends of the Earth Scotland has warned living with the controversial process to reach shale gas is a step closer following petro chemical giant Ineos’s purchase of a majority stake in Dart’s Petroleum Exploration and Development Licence.
It is ready to lobby the Scottish Government to take a tough approach to any planning applications.
Ineos, owned by billionaire businessman Jim Ratcliffe, has come under fierce criticism from the environmental body which gave evidence at the public inquiry into Dart’s plans for Letham Moss.
Head of campaigns Mary Church said: “While recent planning restrictions, low shale gas estimates and strong community resistance should make Scotland’s central belt an unattractive prospect in the new dash for gas, some fracking firms may still be hoping they can find a so-called ‘sweet spot’ and make a quick buck.
“Ineos has found a crafty way to fuel the fracking hype by buying into part of Dart Energy’s licence. This is a low risk way for the company to keep alive the pretence that there is an economically viable shale gas industry waiting to blossom in Scotland.
“Ineos is cynically trying to justify the many millions in loan guarantees that they managed to wangle out of the UK Government to keep the high carbon Grangemouth plant limping along in an unsustainable fashion for a few more years.
“The people living in this licence area are now faced with the very real threat of fracking. This deal will add to the strong local opposition to plans for commercial coalbed methane extraction in the area which has already left a trail of environmental damage across the USA and Australia where the unconventional fossil fuel industry is more developed.
“It is not an industry that we need nor want in a Scotland blessed with abundant clean renewable energy resources.
“While the Scottish Government has taken a more responsible approach than its Westminster counterparts, it needs to send a stronger signal to the industry.
“Scotland should concentrate on living up to its climate commitments and becoming a world leader in renewables rather than joining the UK’s reckless dash for dirty gas.”
A spokesman for Concerned Communities of Falkirk, which also campaigned against Dart’s plans, said: “Our position is unchanged in that, until it is proven safe for public health and the local environment, we will continue to be against unconventional gas production anywhere and will object to coalbed methane and shale gas planning applications in the Falkirk area.”