I have a business in the adjacent field to this proposed development employing 90 people, a Grade 2* listed property across another field intended to become a centre for wedding receptions and conferences employing up to ten people, two important water resources (lakes) which are part of our Fire Plan for the two buildings. One of these lakes, unknown to the developers, takes its inflow water underground, directly piped from the wood, bordering the proposed development.
The position taken by Dart Energy (recently sold to Island Gas, which is owned by Nexen, itself owned/controlled by CNOOC, owned by the Chinese government) is that the hazards involved in test drills will be controlled by good management and regulation, making the chances of catastrophic destruction of Shropshire’s aquifer minimal. My objection is based on the fact that from all over the world the evidence is easily available that such a claim is always made by gas drilling companies, when, in fact, contamination destroying valuable water resources is in fact inevitable, as the materials used are not permanently able to stop it.
The government’s document written by McKay and Stone is the basis on which the industry is able to go ahead in the UK. This document referred to as ‘the dodgy dossier’ by analysts, for example, doubles the estimated amounts of gas to be found and exploited, to bring contamination figures down as a percentage. All evidence of gas drill contamination and pollution that has emerged since the cut-off date used by the report (September 2012) conveniently hides crucial information, making government and council planning support of such drills potentially criminal acts.
Aquifers are always contaminated by gas drilling, whether they be test holes or exploitation drills. For a detailed evaluation of McKay and Stone, and its potentially criminal hiding of crucial evidence for those who don’t look responsibly into the relevant information, go to –
All councillors who don’t inform themselves of such crucial information, and who continue with the deliberate deception of the public as regards the risks of drilling through aquifers down to gas beds, should be prepared to face prosecution.
The potential loss to the region from the destruction of the aquifer below Brooklands Farm will be valued in hundreds of millions of Pounds.
The gas drill as proposed will require the pumping out of millions of gallons of contaminated water from all the old mining works between the location and Ifton Pit in St Martins. Dart Energy has failed to provide any information as to where this water will be disposed, or what its chemical components are. If it is dumped in the brook, the Bryn Daniel, which runs a few yards down the hill from the proposed development, the water will end up in the River Dee, contaminating the water supply used by hundreds of thousands of people downstream, in places like Chester.
The radioactivity of water from mined areas is well known. This hazard has not been assessed, which is another potential count of criminal negligence on the part of officials who ignore these hazards when they are already well known. The pumping out of the water will bring about serious risk of subsidence, starting in St Martins, but also at Dudleston. That’s why the water is there, pumped in as a way to stop the subsidence of buildings in St Martins.
Its removal is bound to cause huge financial loss to the whole area from subsidence. My own purpose built building would cost about £4 million to replace were it to be affected by collapse. The Grade 2* house (Plas Yolyn) was built on land acquired by our ancestor Hwyl Dda (Hwyl The Good) in 925 AD, one of the top 15,000 buildings left standing in Britain. The current house was last rebuilt in 1770 in Queen Anne style, and would not be replaceable at any price, were it to be lost to subsidence. The craftsmen who built it no longer exist.
In view of the risks from gas drilling, all current plans to use the house for wedding receptions with a marquee and conferences are on hold. This is delaying much valuable investment and the creation of up to ten jobs. As regards the building where 90 people work just over the field from the proposed development, we have commissioned a firm of consultants to locate possible places we can move to in Wales, where gas drilling is less likely to occur according to government licensing policy. We are purchasing methane detectors and preparing to operate the building with windows closed if gas starts to appear.
In the event of a fire, we would need to use the water from the two adjacent lakes, which could be jeopardised by subsidence. They could either disappear through faults in the ground, of which there are plenty in the area according to the miners still alive who know the ground. Or they could become contaminated by methane escaping from the drill and become a fire risk in themselves.
As I say, one of these lakes gets its water directly from the area of the proposed site underground, unknown to the developer, as no survey has been made of the ground other than on the surface, and not looking at the risks to immediate neighbouring water resources. There are water voles and crested newts in the lake. As the Shropshire Council gave the proposed development an environmental impact assessment waiver, this information did not come to light.
If this project were to be given the go ahead, it will inevitably result in criminal prosecution of all officials who don’t make themselves cognisant of the huge destructive potential of the process, which has been criminally licensed by the government. Claiming ignorance or passing the buck will not be an acceptable defence for the commission of such a largescale environmental crime.
Paterson fears loss of his Parliamentary seat