Opponents of a controversial scheme to extract coalbed methane gas from near Airth are appealing for funds so it can fight a public inquiry.
Concerned Communities of Falkirk (CCoF), an umbrella group of volunteers who represent several community councils from across the district, is campaigning against proposals drawn up by Dart Energy to drill 22 new bore holes across Letham Moss to let them extract natural gas from underground.
Residents across the district have already voiced their concerns about the plans – which could operate for a minimum of 25 years – and raised fears about its impact on the environment.
But Dart Energy claims the scheme could power hundreds of homes and lead to a cash windfall for nearby communities.
A public inquiry examining Dart’s plans will begin on March 18 and is expected to last for around three weeks.
CCoF spokeswoman Maria Montinaro said: “As an entirely voluntary organisation with no public funding, CCoF has to raise all the funds required to pay for its legal support and representation. CCoF anticipates this will be in excess of £50,000.
“We were fortunate to receive £6000 from cosmetics company Lush to kickstart the campaign, paying for the production of flyers and venue meeting costs.
“CCoF’s legal team, subject of course to funding, will be Sir Crispin Agnew QC, Ian Cowan from Highland Environmental Law and Mothiur Rahman, a community rights consultant with a background in planning and environmental law.”
A spokesman for Dart Energy said: “Dart Energy is looking forward to the public inquiry, where through the use of real data and expert testimony, it hopes to lay to rest the fears of the local communities.”
For more information on CCoF, visit www.faug.org.uk.