Feb 29 2012 by Michael Pringle, Airdrie & Coatbridge
RESIDENTS in a Monklands village have lodged hundreds of objections to a proposed gas extraction plant.
Dumbarton-based company Reach CSG have lodged a planning application with North Lanarkshire Council to drill for coal bed methane (CBM) within the grounds of a factory in Moodiesburn.
After being contacted by the Advertiser, Reach CSG’s managing director Graham Dean moved to allay the residents’ fears saying the work was merely an “exploratory borehole” and would not affect nearby residents.
Reach CSG are hoping for final approval from the council’s planning committee when their application is considered on March 22.
They intend to carry out the work – drilling 3000ft into the ground at the Devro food processing factory in Gartferry Road – with a view to pumping out large volumes of water and releasing methane gas embedded in coal seams.
Local residents produced information leaflets and lodged their objections on the e-planning section of the council’s website after becoming aware of the plans.
The proposed drilling site is in close proximity to a residential area and people living there are worried that Reach CSG may be permitted to drill laterally for a radius of a mile under almost every home in the village, that has a burgeoning population of over 7000 people.
One resident who lives at Westdale Drive close to the proposed site told the Advertiser: “We want the residents here to be aware of what they are doing so close to a residential area.
“This could destabilise and devalue our homes. The drilling process used has caused controversy in some parts of the United States.”
Residents fear the structural stability of their homes could be put in jeopardy if the company is allowed to carry out the drilling work. They claim that water extraction could cause heavy clay soil their houses are built on to dry out.
They are also wary of the contamination of ground water as a result of chemicals used in the drilling and gas extraction process.
Transport Scotland have said they have no objection to the work but will not allow drilling under the recently built M80 by-pass and other nearby trunk roads.
Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) have already raised concerns over the proposals on the grounds of lack of information.
Reach CSG haven’t ruled out the use of a technique known as “fracking” or hydraulic fracturing.
The process has caused controversy in parts of the United States with gases coming to the surface, water contamination and high levels of carcinogenic and neurotoxins in the air.
One small town in Pennsylvania has been devastated by the drilling process with a number of residents able to set light to their drinking water as it flows from the taps in their homes.
Graham Dean of Reach CSG tried to allay residents fears. He said: “We will be holding a public meeting quite soon to discuss the purpose of our work.
“The planning application is for a vertical borehole to evaluate the coal seam and there’s a 50 percent chance that it could be unsuitable.
“We won’t be drilling underneath houses so fears on that are unfounded.
He also attempted to quell fears of any sort of stench and insisted that the works could prove beneficial for the local community. He added: “Methane is a natural gas and it’s odourless so there will be no smell.
“There are a number of possibilities if the gas can be extracted; selling it to Devro is one option but we could also sell it to the National Grid.
“The local community would benefit from any economic activity in the area.”