Proposed Coal Bed Methane Well…

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    A few days ago I received a card informing residents of the ”Proposed Coal Bed Methane Well South of Borras Road”, it was sent on behalf of the company (I presume) are intending to go ahead with this namely Dart Energy.

    The leading global coal bed methane company – Dart Energy

    Anyway, there is a public exhibition taking place at Gresford Memorial Hall on Wednesday 27th November 2pm – 8pm if anyone is interested/concerned about this.

    Anyone else had this card or know anything more about this? I’m presuming this proposed operation is some kind of fracking or the like and this company are not holding this exhibition for residents out of the goodness of their hearts…?



    @Metalhead 10373 wrote:

    A few days ago I received a card informing residents of the ”Proposed Coal Bed Methane Well South of Borras Road”, it was sent on behalf of the company (I presume) are intending to go ahead with this namely Dart Energy.

    The leading global coal bed methane company – Dart Energy

    Anyway, there is a public exhibition taking place at Gresford Memorial Hall on Wednesday 27th November 2pm – 8pm if anyone is interested/concerned about this.

    Anyone else had this card or know anything more about this? I’m presuming this proposed operation is some kind of fracking or the like and this company are not holding this exhibition for residents out of the goodness of their hearts…?

    Sounds like another company wanting to come into Wrexham and use and abuse it. They will probably want to knock down St Giles while they are at it.



    I have enquired and it would appear that these cards seem to have been issued in a rather random manner (in my area anyway). Most people I have asked seem to know nothing at all about this ‘public exhibition’ or the proposal in general. One point that was raised was that some residential areas are situated over disused coal mine shafts and there is a possibility of radon gas lying dormant in these shafts. Is fracking (if that is what this company ultimately intend to carry out if their investigation does find sufficient amounts of methane gas) in reasonably close proximity to these areas really such a wise move? Whatever residents views/concerns on this proposal are I think they should be made aware of it because at the moment most seem totally unaware.


    Born Acorn

    Certainly all those old mine shafts and tunnels, not being the dryest of locations, will have rotting timbers or corroded iron props by now.

    Certainly not a good plan to go pumping water at high pressure down there!



    Sent an email to WCBC yesterday,

    Dear Sir.Madam,

    Can you please tell me the end date for the planning application, Drilling of exploration borehole, P/2013/0660 ?
    Also, will there be a public consultation period for this planning application and if so, could you provide details?
    This is the second time I have contacted your office about this. The first time was through your website form over a month ago, and I never got a reply.
    I have been informed by a friend in Marford that Dart Energy are sending out invitation cards to attend,
    A PUBLIC EXHIBITION at Gresford Memorial Hall Wednesday 27 November Between 2pm and 8pm
    can you tell me why more local residents do not know about this? I live less than a mile away from the proposed drill site and have not received any such notification. Who is responsible for informing the Wrexham community of such controversial plans and why has a press release not been issued about the above public meeting??

    This was the reply I had today,

    In response to the points that the consultee raises I would advise the following:

    The consultation period on this application has now passed, however, I have requested further information from the applicant which will be required prior to a determination being made. This application will need to be decided by the Planning Committee. All comments received prior to the Planning Committee will be considered and reported to Planning Committee either as part of the main report or as late observations. It is important to note that responses which are sent but not received prior to Planning Committee cannot be reported. It is therefore advisable to send any comments as soon as possible. The Planning Committee meeting is open to the public and interested parties are able to register their interest to speak by contacting the Local Planning Authority.

    The proposal was publicised in the local press, by site notices in the locality and through neighbour notification.

    The applicant is holding a number of exhibitions in the area:
    Monday 25th 16:00 to 21:00 “Training Room” Acton Community Resource Centre, Acton
    Tuesday 26th 14:00 to 20:00 Kenyon Hall, Holt
    Wednesday 27th 14:00 to 20:00 “Green Room” Gresford Memorial Hall, Gresford

    The responsibility for publicising the above exhibitions falls on the applicant.


    Take a look at this freedom of information request that was put into WCBC.

    The initial response was a price list, but a proper reply has now been sent as follows,

    1. The Community Wellbeing and Development department does hold the information requested.

    A planning application was received on 20th September 2013 for “Drilling of Exploration Borehole (Requiring 24 Hour Operations) to remove a core of coal for sampling and site restoration following cessation of drilling operations. Drilling operations to take approximately 60 Days and a maximum of 75 Days on Part of field West of Commonwood Farm and South of Borras Road, Commonwood, Holt, Wrexham. The planning application reference number is P/2013/0660 and the documents submitted with this application may be viewed on our web site at WCBC: Online Planning Applications Search Facility
    Alternatively the planning application file (which will also contain correspondence received) may be viewed at The Contact Centre, 16 Lord Street, Wrexham, LL11 1LG during normal office hours. Please do not hesitate to contact Ann Jones on Tel: 01978 298740 or email if you require any assistance in this matter.

    Planning Committee Meetings are held on a monthly basis but as yet no date has been confirmed as to when this application is likely to be considered.

    The application is being dealt by the North Wales Minerals and Waste Planning Service at Flintshire County Council and the case officer is Martha Savage (Senior Minerals and Waste Planning Officer) who may be contacted on Tel: 01352 703298 or email You are therefore advised to contact the above officer for an indication as to which Committee it will be reported to.

    A public notice was placed in The Leader on Friday 18th October 2013 advising that this application had been received and several Notices were also displayed on and nearby the application site. Residential properties in close proximity to the application site were notified of the planning application on 11th October 2013.

    Any planning application submitted for consideration for “fracking” would be subject to the same assessment as any other planning proposal for development in the area. More specifically any proposals would be considered in relation to policies within the adopted Unitary Development Plan and any other material planning considerations pertinent to each individual case, therefore each proposal would be considered on its own merits and considered in relation to normal planning requirements.

    However it must be stressed that this planning application (P/2013/0660) does not seek approval for any gas exploitation by way of hydraulic fracturing (‘fracking’). Any such exploitation of gas would require a separate application for planning permission and would again be considered on its own merits. The Council have previously determined a limited number of similar proposals to this in the past for such exploration work and to date none have resulted in planning applications for “fracking”.



    Remember if you wish to speak against at a planning meeting that you only get three minutes. Not very long.



    After being notified about a council meeting in Holt where Dart were invited to speak about their proposals, I started a thread on the Holt village discussion forum.
    For those who are interested to know more about the impacts that surround CBM and shale gas exploitation, I`ve listed them on that thread. I`ve also opened the thread with an introduction to myself and how I came to be initially interested and then opposed to this industry. You will also find a comment from the Dart UK country manager and my response. But if you dig deep. you`ll also find that I know more about their future plans than they would like. You see, during that Holt meeting, the three Dart reps were waiting outside before being summoned into the meeting. A friend of mine was also outside. They got chatting and were quite open about their plans to re-enter this exploration well to drill another 1000 feet and then to drill many more wells from drill sites every couple of square miles.

    Not sure if you can see this image with it being on Facebook, but if you can, check out the pink area marked `Good UCG area`. UCG stands for Underground Coal Gasification
    The area marked is a thick coal seam and is the likely target for Dart but I think they will be carrying out standard CBM techniques rather than setting fire to the seam, but this is not to say that normal CBM extraction is any safer or cleaner or without any severe impacts.

    Incidentally, Paul Mobbs, who was interviewed in the Ecologist linked above, came to Wrexham at my request to do a presentation about the impacts and ways to object etc. His website has some related info worth checking out too.

    Lastly, take a look at Dart`s website, The CBM Extraction Process
    We know that there are several layers of coal beds and a shale play lower down, so they can exploit all of these from just two drill sites. (one site has the vertical production well and another is where they do the directional drilling, intersecting the production well and into the seams. They can drill in all directions and up to between a mile and two miles from the drill site. Then they would move the rig to another location a couple of miles away and do the same again and keep doing that until they have covered the whole area as indicated `Good UCG area` above.

    But all this depends on what this exploration/coring well turns up. I think they are drilling this well as part of the governments wishes to find out more about how much shale gas (and CBM) is ACTUALLY extractable.

    BTW, Dart left and sold their Australian assets because the regulations got tough over there. They came here because Cameron has relaxed the regs.

    “GDF has been looking to acquire an interest in upstream gas for a while, and they’ve looked at a number of opportunities across Europe,” said energy partner Hamish McArdle who led on the deal for Baker Botts. “They considered the UK regulatory and tax regime to be less challenging than some others.”




    @Luke_Ashley 10405 wrote:


    Hmmm… after reading that I can see why this process gets such negative press. I’ll be honest Luke I know very little about the technicalities of this ‘fracking’ process what alerted me to this was that the vast majority of local residents seemed to know nothing about this proposed extraction. From your earlier comment I take it that Dart Energy already have permission to carry out this exploratory extraction but would need to apply for further permission to instigate any full time operation? I’m anticipating a very low turnout to these ‘public exhibitions’ as most residents (around the Gresford/Marford area anyway) currently seem to know nothing about this proposal. Perhaps some top class local journo’s could help get this information out there and even pop down to one of these exhibitions to ask some questions? ;)



    Just had this ‘checklist’ emailed to me concerning the possible dangers of this ‘fracking’ process, I’m no expert on this matter so cannot comment on how accurate this information is. I do however intend to take it down to my local public exhibition next week in the hope of getting some answers. It has also been mentioned to me that this proposed site is fairly close to the River Dee water table, again I’ve no idea how accurate that information is but would be very interested to hear Dart Energy’s comments on these matters as well as any issues local areas could possibly experience (subsidence issues to properties, unsettling of possible radon gas) from this proposed process due to underlying coal mine shafts.

    The checklist:


    Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”, is the process of drilling and injecting fluid into the ground at a high pressure in order to fracture shale rocks to release natural gas inside.

    Each gas well requires an average of 400 tanker trucks to carry water and supplies to and from the site.

    It takes 1-8 million gallons of water to complete each fracturing job.

    The water brought in is mixed with sand and chemicals to create fracking fluid. Approximately 40,000 gallons of chemicals are used per fracturing.

    Up to 600 chemicals are used in fracking fluid, including known carcinogens and toxins such as:
    Lead, uranium, mercury, ethylene glycol, radium, methanol, hydrochloric acid, formaldehyde

    DOWN 10,000ft
    The fracking fluid is then pressure injected into the ground through a drilled pipeline.

    The mixture reaches the end of the well where the high pressure causes the nearby shale rock to crack, creating fissures where natural gas flows into the well.

    During this process, methane gas and toxic chemicals leach out from the system and contaminate nearby groundwater.
    Methane concentrations are 17x higher in drinking-water wells near fracturing sites than in normal wells.

    Contaminated well water is used for drinking water for nearby cities and towns.

    There have been over 1,000 documented cases of water contamination next to areas of gas drilling as well as cases of sensory, respiratory, and neurological damage due to ingested contaminated water.

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