Fresh fears raised over Fracking


   By Lynda Williamson
Fresh concerns have arisen over Dart Energy’s plans for its site in the Falkirk village of Airth after it emerged, in a submission to the Australian Stock Exchange, that the company plans to use fracking techniques in Black Metal Shale and Lothian Shale in the Central Belt.

The company has consistently assured the local community and planning officials that it has no plans to frack to exploit the shale gas in the area.  This claim has been treated with suspicion by some campaigners who thought it curious that a company which specialises in fracking techniques would forgo the opportunity to exploit shale gas reserves at the site.
Friends of the Earth Campaign Co-ordinator Mary Church said:

“Dart Energy needs to be straight with the public and its shareholders about its plans to frack in the central belt. What they are saying to the local community and what their company reports say to shareholders doesn’t add up.”

“It looks as if Dart are being extremely economical with the truth in an effort to get the Airth coalbed methane project past the local community and planners. Dart must be more upfront about the company’s plans to exploit shale gas in the area so that communities and local authorities can make properly informed decisions.”

In a previous article Newsnet Scotland revealed that Dart Energy has not posted a profit in the last two years and that last year’s planned listings on both the UK and Singapore stock exchanges were postponed, raising questions about investor support.

In a recent presentation to prospective UK investors, Dart’s Chief Commercial Officer Eytan Uliel, stated that the company benefited from having “…near term coalbed methane projects which will start to deliver revenue and mitigate our long term work programme obligations.”

The Westminster coalition government are keen to exploit unconventional gas reserves in the UK.  Late last year Chancellor George Osborne announced the creation of a single office for unconventional gas and tax breaks to encourage shale gas extraction. In his UK presentation Eytan Uliel praised the UK government’s approach to unconventional gas stating that:

“The UK government are incredibly supportive, actively promoting shale gas activity. The UK is providing a lead to Europe in terms of support and legislation.”

The government in New South Wales in Australia by contrast has introduced a ban on all coalbed methane activity within 2km of residential areas.  Friends of the Earth Scotland have called for a ban on all unconventional gas extraction including fracking.

Mary Church added: “Unconventional gas is increasingly linked to serious local environmental and health problems in countries such as Australia and the USA where the industry is more developed.

“Scotland has plentiful renewable resources, the last thing we need is to go after yet more climate-busting fossil fuels.”