Barbara Keeley MP

LABOUR MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT FOR WORSLEY AND ECCLES SOUTH

Barbara comments on decision to allow drilling for Coal bed methane at Barton Moss

BMBarbara has commented on the decision by Salford Council this week to allow drilling for coal bed methane at Barton Moss:

“I am disappointed that Salford Council’s Planning Panel has decided to allow exploratory drilling for coal bed methane gas on Barton Moss.  I felt it was clear that exploratory drilling and any subsequent mining could have a negative impact on the quality of life for people living near to the site. I felt this was unacceptable and more consideration should be given to the impact on the local area and community

"I had made strong objections, on behalf of local people, to this planning application. Although the planning application was primarily for exploratory drilling, it also contains proposals involving future mining activity such as a new access road and the installation of wells and power generating facilities. If the drilling uncovers gas in commercially viable quantities, the long-term environmental effects of the subsequent mining should have been considered and I am unsure if the Planning Panel attached enough weight to these.

"Coal Bed Methane mining involves extracting groundwater from deep beneath the surface, which often contains high levels of salinif salt, which can destroy soil structure and inhibit water absorption by plants. The long-term effect of Coal Bed Methane mining on the quality of the land at Barton Moss would be significant. It is difficult to see how the land at the site could be fully restored to its pre-mining state very easily.

"My objections were also that the compressors used may also produce a high level of noise that would be a nuisance to people living near to the drilling site.  The nearest houses are quite close to the site and I hope they are not affected in this way by drilling operations. There will also be an increase in traffic locally due to vehicles travelling to and from the site.

"I understand that there has been no wildlife survey undertaken on the Barton Moss site to collect information about the fish, wildlife and plants that already occupy the local area and I was concerned about that. The proposed access road off Barton Moss road as well as the drill pads, pipelines, power lines, transmission stations and compressors that accompany this mining could harm local wildlife and their habitat. Once wildlife and habitat are destroyed it is unlikely that they will be able to be reintroduced to pre-mining levels after work at the site is completed.

"Local residents with concerns about the planning applications told me that there was insufficient consultation with local people about the proposals. It was only due to the efforts of concerned local residents that other residents heard about the plans at all.

"Our Mosslands and green open spaces are a precious resource and I don’t feel that mineral extraction such as this mining at Barton Moss and the peat extraction which is going at Chat Moss are acceptable ways of protecting that resource.”

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