Shropshire

Dudleston methane drilling decision postponed

Dart Energy project near Airth Image copyright MJ Richardson
Image caption Dart Energy operates a number of coal bed methane sites across the UK, including Airth in Scotland

A decision over plans to drill for methane in north Shropshire has been postponed by the local authority.

Dart Energy has applied for permission to dig a test borehole to check for coal bed methane on farmland in Dudleston, near Ellesmere.

About 100 people protested outside a Shropshire Council planning meeting on Friday afternoon.

Councillors said they opposed the bid, but following legal advice, agreed to postpone a decision until November.

They unanimously said they "were minded to reject the application" but officers and a legal advisor stepped in.

Further research

Officers are now expected to carry out further research before the next planning meeting.

Coal bed methane involves drilling down to a coal seam and then removing water to stimulate the flow of methane, which can then be used to produce energy.

Dart Energy was first granted planning permission to create a test borehole at the site in 2010, but it expired last year.

Their current plans include drilling a 830m deep (2,720ft) borehole at the site. If approved, it would remain for two months, after which it would be sealed.

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