Council chiefs urged to reject plans for well drilling at Swanage’s California Quarry (From Bournemouth Echo)
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Council chiefs urged to reject plans for well drilling at Swanage’s California Quarry
ENVIRONMENTAL campaigners have urged county chiefs to rule against the drilling of an exploratory gas well at Swanage’s California Quarry.
Dorset County Council’s (DCC) planning committee is due to consider the application, from InfraStrata plc, at a meeting in late November.
Meanwhile, the public consultation period for residents to lodge their views with County Hall has been extended until the end of October.
East Dorset Friends of the Earth wants DCC to reject the plans on the basis of potential increased vehicle movements, vibration impacts on local wildlife, atmospheric pollution and other “exceptional environmental constraints” on the site.
Group spokesman Angela Pooley, said: “Dorset should be seeking to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases by encouraging a reduction in the reliance upon fossil fuels as an energy source.”
Campaigners are also concerned the well could lead to fracking, although InfraStrata insists drilling is planned to only assess “conventional sandstone reservoirs”.
An InfraStrata spokesman said: “Should commercial quantities of gas be found, a subsequent planning application would be required before any facilities could be constructed adjacent to the well to pipe gas into the local gas network.”
A two-day public information event detailing the proposal was held in Swanage earlier this summer.
InfraStrata, formerly Portland Gas plc, is a petroleum exploration and gas storage company operating in Dorset and Antrim, Northern Ireland.
They are planning to drill an exploratory well from within the California stone quarry at Panorama Road.
Should it be given the green light, the well will be steered from onshore to offshore to a depth of more than a mile and a half below the sea to the east of Swanage.
Earlier this year county councillors granted permission to extend oil production at Purbeck’s Wytch Farm for a further 21 years.
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