Communities warned of danger of fracking

Anti-fracking demo
Anti-fracking demo

Community leaders have been warned that East Dunbartonshire has been identified as a possible location for controversial shale gas exploration.

Andrew West and Emma Cook, from environmental pressure group Frack Off, issued the stark message at a meeting of Bishopbriggs Community Council last week.

Representatives from other community councils and East Dunbartonshire Council were also present to see a film concerning the negative impact similar exploration has had on areas of Australia.

They were accompanied by representatives from Falkirk Against Unconventional Gas (FAUG), who were instrumental in getting Falkirk and Stirling Councils to block proposals by Dart Energy to extract coal bed methane from land in Airth.

A public inquiry is to be held next month over the decision, after an appeal by the energy company.

FAUG are currently in the process of raising £50,000 to pay for legal representation.

A report published at the end of last year identified a swathe of land across Central Scotland, including East Dunbartonshire, for possible gas production using ‘hydraulic fracturing’, more commonly known as fracking.

The process sees large amounts of fluid injected deep into the ground at a high pressure to break up rocks and release natural gas.

Those against fracking claim that the process can be responsible for everything from earthquakes to childhood illness, and that it causes toxins to leak into waterways.

However. industry chiefs and some politicians say that the process is perfectly safe and could stop a potential future energy crisis.

Community councillors were told to look out for seemingly innocuous planning applications for ‘mineral related developments’ which could lead to fracking.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We strongly endorse the appropriate and robust regulation of drilling techniques such as hydraulic fracturing associated with the extraction of shale gas. The minister for environment and climate change recently announced a strengthening of planning policy in relation to unconventional gas – showing that this government listens to local communities and to those calling for stronger environmental protection.”