Over 2,500 objections were made to Dart Energy’s plans, which would be the most advanced unconventional gas project in the UK.
Mary Church, Head of Campaigns at Friends of the Earth Scotland, said:
“Unconventional gas is unnecessary, unsafe and unwanted. The Scottish Government has clearly stated that Scotland does not need unconventional gas to meet our energy needs, and extracting and burning it will jeopordise our climate targets and expose local people to unacceptable health risks.
“The local community has made it resoundingly clear that they do not want this industry on their doorstep, or anywhere. It is our hope that the Inquiry will support this position and signal the end of the unconventional gas industry in Scotland.”
The local inquiry is expected to be lengthy and cover complex technical ground including potential public health and climate change impacts of the development. Friends of the Earth Scotland will be leading two expert witnesses at the Inquiry. Dr John Broderick of the Tyndall Centre will give evidence on the climate change implications of going after a new source of fossil fuels, and Prof Christopher Hilson of Reading University will present on the inadequacies of the regulatory framework to respond to the industry.
A number of areas in Scotland are already under license for onshore unconventional gas development, but on 17th December the UK Government published a map of areas, including vast swathes of Scotland, that could be licensed for future shale gas and coalbed methane extraction.
The Reporter has agreed that the Inquiry will examine complex technical ground including potential public health and climate change impacts of the development. Its findings could set a precedent for unconventional gas plans around the UK. Both Falkirk and Stirling Council’s Planning Committees voted to oppose the plans in December 2013.