Plans for test drilling for methane at Llys Nini Animal Centre approved despite environmental concerns
PLANS to allow test drilling to look for methane at the home of an animal rescue centre has been given the go-ahead — despite concerns from environmental groups and some councillors.
Members of Swansea Council's planning committee voted to approve the proposal to drill an appraisal borehole to allow for coal bed methane exploration at Llys Nini Animal Centre in Penllergaer.
The scheme has been put forward by UK Methane Limited. The centre says it wants to establish whether the boreholes could allow methane to be used as a clean energy source for small scale electrical generation at the RSPCA centre. But a planning committee meeting was told there had been 163 letters of objection about the scheme, and concerns were raised about potential pollution, and why the drilling would be deeper than the estimated depth of any potential methane.
John Childs, of Swansea Friends of the Earth, and Safe Energy Wales, part of the UK-wide network of groups campaigning against "extreme energy extraction", called for an environmental impact assessment to be carried out.
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He told the meeting: "At this time we do not have enough information to make a judgement.
"Some members may not be aware there are six similar applications which have been approved in Swansea without members knowing much about it.
"UK Methane has made no public announcement about plans for Swansea in the short or long term."
Uplands councillor John Bayliss added: "I believe if this is passed it will have significant ramifications for Swansea in the long term. There are specific concerns about seepage of methane during drilling, into the environment."
But Sally Hyman, chairwoman of the trustees for Llys Nini, told the meeting: "There will be no attempt made to stimulate gas production or hydrocarbons. No decisions have been made about any future developments.
"Llys Nini is an established, responsible, environmentally-friendly local charity; the only fat cats involved with us are furry, with four legs, and are currently in our cattery".