GP Energy (who were bought out by Dart who in turn have been bought out by IGas) applied for planning permission to do an exploratory drill for coal bed methane (CBM) at Borras, Wrexham. Frack-off describes coal bed methane as the evil twin of shale gas. Wrexham council refused the application back in March after at lot of work by local people to educate the planning committee on the dangers of unconventional gas extraction. The success of this was at least in part due to increased awareness of the issues as a result of a test drill happening at the same time in nearby Farndon. Unfortunately, the Wales Planning Inspector overturned the council's decision earlier this month - on some distinctly dodgy grounds - and the site is now under imminent threat of test drilling, even though it is in an area where the government's own report has indicated CBM extraction isn't feasible due to the geology.
A public meeting has been called for 23 October in Borras but, in advance of that, the site has been occupied this weekend and a community protection camp set up. Support (including more campers) and supplies needed. Please get there if you can. Postcode LL13 9TG. There's a camp Facebook group or you can contact Frack-Free Wrexham for more information.
Kitchen under construction
Securing kitchen roof
the proposed drill site is just over there
an idyllic spot - let's keep it that way
time for a brew
Flier for meeting and camp info
Around 25 people were on site this afternoon. Those who had been camping since Friday said they were overwhelmed with the number of people who'd called round to the camp to wish them well and drop off supplies, water, building materials, camping gear and all sorts of other useful stuff. As well as a group of tents in the middle, a compost toilet had already been built, as well as a shelter by the fire and a kitchen under construction.
Community Protection Camps can only succeed with the support of the local community, so if you live locally, or further afield, and care about protecting the countryside, air, water, food... (property owners might also care about their property values which are liable to plummet in areas where drilling goes ahead), please call in to the camp and see what's needed. There's a warm welcome for all friendly visitors - just turn up. Police presence so far has been low key.
The site is quite muddy, particularly around the gate, so bear that in mind if you're planning to go into the field. If you're driving, parking is possible on the verge alongside the gate and if you're travelling by bus, the site is about 1 mile from the Holt Lodge Inn. Take the turning nearly opposite the Holt Lodge into Shepherds Rd. Follow this road right to the end, turn left at the T-junction and the site is on the left just after the Borras village sign. The C56 bus from Wrexham or Chester, both of which have railway stations, stops at the Holt Lodge Inn. A camp phone number will be available soon.
Frack Free Wrexham
e-mail: frackfreewrexham [AT] riseup.net