The chairman of the West Fife & Coastal Villages Community Councils’ Forum, and principally on behalf of each of the coastal community councils in West Fife, today submitted a 'firm objection' to the DPEA regarding Dart Energy's plans for Coal Bed Methane (CBM) drilling and associated development in the Falkirk area.
The Forum represents, among other West Fife community councils, the interests of a number of Fife coastal communities and their residents from Kincardine, via Culross, Torryburn and Newmills, Crombie, eastward to Charleston and Limekilns.
In a letter to the DPEA Case Officer for Dart Energy's appeal, David A Lord, Chairman of the joint Forum, who has kindly permitted us to print the text of his objection letter on our website, wrote:
"We call upon the Planning Authority to use their powers to refuse any further development of this commercial CBM extraction.
"Our joint Forum concerns over this development centre on the potential pollution and contamination from waste discharge.
"We object to the fact that Dart Energy have not considered in any way the interests of Fife residents. This is important to us because:
- Although this proposed development originates in the Falkirk and Kincardine areas, Dart Energy’s PEDL 133 (referenced in their planning application) extends into West Fife.
- Planned discharge of toxic waste from this proposed commercial-scale development of CBM extraction is into the centre of the Firth of Forth. This has the potential to contaminate the tidal flats, shellfish, and other marine life and natural habitats along the north coast of our inner Forth area.
- From similar developments elsewhere, CBM waste discharge carries a known, proven risk of pollution. The most dangerous pollutants are carcinogenic benzene and toluene components, amongst others.
"If the Planning Authority is minded to approve development, they must:
- Resist the use of the tidal inner Forth locality for multiple discharge points of the waste.
- Call for further base line environmental data from the Fife coastal area from Kincardine to the east Fife part of the estuary. This must be before the commencement of any further CBM development.
- Call for additional investigation and assessment of the deep seam CBM access and extraction on the natural sub-surface water flow to the north side of the Forth.
- Place strict limits on pollutant levels; with routine and frequent independent measurements of these pollutants; publish the data from these test within 10 working days and make these available on a publicly-accessible website.
"Members of the Forum feel strongly that Dart Energy should have involved our communities during earlier consultation phases. We are not aware that they have taken any baseline environmental measurements to date on this side of the Forth.
"Furthermore, we, in West Fife, object to the basic working of the coal seams in the proposed Falkirk area without first considering in detail its impact on the water table and water pollution along West Fife coastal areas.
"We know from former miners in our Forum catchment area that there is a complex of linked former mine workings and access roadways between deep coal bed areas each side of the Forth**. We are unaware of any assessment made by Dart Energy of the potential for underground drainage and seepage of water that might affect groundwater to the north side of their workings extending into Fife coastal land. Ground water contamination from these old mine workings is apparent from a number of rising water points contaminated with red ochre and oils."
* WF&CV Forum: Representing the villages of Blairhall, Cairneyhill, Carnock, Charlestown, Comrie, Crombie, Culross, Gowkhall, High Valleyfield, Kincardine-on-Forth, Limekilns, Low Valleyfield, Newmills, Oakley, Pattiesmuir, Saline, Steelend, Torryburn
** Former long-wall coal and other abandoned workings: typically Blairhall; Valleyfield; Bo’ness; Grangemouth