A fresh row has broken out between an environmental group and an energy company over controversial plans to extract methane near Airth.
Lawyers for Dart Energy wrote to the director of Friends of the Earth Scotland asking him to remove posts from a social networking website that were criticial of the company’s plans to drill for coalbed methane.
The Australian company said Dr Richard Dixon’s public opposition conflicts with his role as a board member of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) which grants licences for schemes such as the one proposed near Airth.
Dart this week retracted its threat of legal action if the tweets were not removed.
Dr Dixon said: “It’s a pretty scary experience to be faced with legal action from a multi-million pound company. This attempt to gag my comments has backfired and instead has brought the issues relating to fracking and coalbed methane extraction in Scotland to a larger audience. This is an embarrassing climbdown.”
A spokesman for Dart Energy said: “The lawyers’ letter was addressed to Richard Dixon in a personal capacity specifically in relation to his board membership of SEPA.
“The letter was only sent to the Friends of the Earth Scotland address as we did not have his personal address.
“A close inspection of the letter makes clear that Dart Energy’s concerns were with regard to his position on the board of SEPA and had nothing to do with his role at Friends of the Earth Scotland.
“That Richard Dixon has chosen to widely publicise the “private and confidential” correspondence as an attack on Friends of the Earth Scotland amply demonstrates the acute level of his personal antipathy towards Dart Energy and is further evidence of why we questioned his conflicted position with regard to discussions about Dart Energy’s licences as a board member of SEPA.”