Community council says ‘no’ to gas plans

Land between Airth and Plean could be used for gas methane extraction
Land between Airth and Plean could be used for gas methane extraction

Residents are stepping up their fight to stop controversial gas extraction works coming to Airth.

Dart Energy Scotland has applied to take methane from coal beds between Airth and Plean and feed it to the national grid.

The proposal, which is to be discussed at Falkirk Council’s planning committee early in 2013, would see the gas extracted from a kilometre below the ground and then transported to a gas-gathering facility near an existing network pipeline.

The company has been tapping in to methane at the site since 2004 to turn into electricity but the new proposal would generate enough gas to power hundreds of homes and would be the first site of its kind in Scotland.

However, residents in Airth and the Kinnaird Village area of Larbert have raised concerns over potential damage to the environment caused by the process and a meeting to discuss the proposal attracted more than 100 concerned locals.

Larbert, Stenhousemuir and Torwood Community Council addressed the proposal at a meeting on Monday. No representative from Dart attended, although they had previously met with the committee and also supplied answers to further matters needing clarification.

Convenor of the council Eric Appelbe said local residents made many valid points about the plans including questions over the content of drilling fluids, how clean the water disposed of in the 
Firth of Forth would be 
and the details over the monitoring arrangements with SEPA.

He added: “Following the public debate, we asked for a show of hands of anyone in favour of the planning application.

“No hands in the audience were raised.

“As a result, the community council agreed that it will formally object to the planning application.”

It will submit detailed objections to the proposal to Falkirk Council and agreed to also consider how it can raise further awareness of the proposal to other residents in the local area.

Meanwhile, a community councillor from Shieldhill and California is submitting a letter to Downing Street opposing unconventional gas extraction in the UK.

Maria Montinaro will represent Falkirk and Scotland and formally present the petition to stop coal bed methane production on Saturday in London.

At the time of The Falkirk Herald going to press, no comment from Dart 
Energy Scotland had been received.