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June 5, 2013

Falkirk’s fracking fears

Fracking – the process of extracting ‘unconventional gas’ – has been heralded as the great breakthrough in the debate about how to meet our future energy needs. It has certainly transformed the American domestic energy market – by 2020 the US expects to be a net exporter of gas. But alongside this rapid expansion, has been a growing body of evidence pointing to serious environmental risks.  As the fracking industry starts to get some traction in Scotland, local people are gearing up for a fight.


Concerned communities of Falkirk

To read more about concerned communities of Falkirk click here

Dart Energy have submitted a planning application to Falkirk and Stirling Councils to build 14 new well pads with 22 new coalbed methane (CBM) wells, pipelines to connect the sites, a gas processing and water treatment facility and a waste outfall into the Firth of Forth. The planned site covers a large area between Larbert and Airth with drilling planned 20m from some homes and directly beneath many more.

If the planning permission is granted, this will be the UK’s first commercial production of unconventional gas from coalbed methane. This process has devastated communities elsewhere in the world. The Environmental Statement for this planning application states that “the current proposal is for the initial stage of the Full Field Development” indicating that this is the start of plans to develop a large gas field with possibly more than 100 wells in Falkirk local authority alone.
Our concerns
The processes are very new and there’s powerful evidence from similar operations elsewhere that they entail significant health and environmental risks, which the proposal has overlooked, including the potential for long-term contamination of our air, farmland, watercourses and ecosystems, and other adverse impacts on our property prices, local economy, and general quality-of-life in the area.

In response to this evidence, Bans and Moratoriums on gas extraction are being imposed around the world, for example in New South Wales, Australia, where a new law was recently imposed, banning CBM (also called CSG) activity anywhere within 2km of residences and business clusters.

Concerned Communities of Falkirk is a group of residents from various communities throughout the Falkirk area who have come together because of their concerns over this important and controversial planning application. We have created a Community Mandate demanding an overhaul of local and national policy and a re-assessment of Dart Energy’s application. More than 1400 of these Mandates have now been signed by local residents and submitted to Falkirk Council. Learn more about our Falkirk Against Unconventional Gas (FAUG) campaign.
If you would like more information, or you would like to help with the campaign, visit our What you can do section. Anything you can do helps, no matter how small. This is our community and we must make our voices heard!