28 November 2014, News Wires – IGas Energy-owned onshore explorer Dart Energy has rejected claims its coal-bed methane exploration plans in north Wales could desecrate the graves of a historic mining disaster.
Local campaigners are reportedly unhappy about the explorer’s plans to drill an exploratory bore-hole at Borras, Holt near Wrexham because of its proximity to the site of 1934’s Gresford Colliery disaster, according to a report in the UK’s Daily Mirror newspaper.
More than 260 workers died in what was one of the UK’s worst mining disasters, and many of the victims’ remains were never recovered.
Locals view any drilling or hydraulic fracturing near the disaster site as an insult, according to the newspaper.
The explorer said that “the proximity to the disaster site was fully considered by Dart Energy and the relevant authorities at the time of the planning application and it was concluded that there would be no effect on the disaster zone”.
“The borehole is in fact over a kilometre distant from the nearest mined seam and more than 1.5 km from the actual disaster zone,” Dart Energy added.
The explorer also pointed out that mining continued at the site for almost 40 years following the disaster including workings that extended past the location of the accident.
Dart Energy also stressed that there are no plans for hydraulic fracturing at this site.
The company said it plans to drill a vertical borehole to recover a sample of rock after which the well will be sealed with cement and the ground restored to its former agricultural use.
Campaign group Frack Free Wrexham said it fears that Dart Energy will later employ hydraulic fracturing depending on the results of the initial borehole, and has vowed to continue its opposition to the project.
The drill application for the CBM probe was rejected by Wrexham County Borough Council in March even though the council’s planning officer had recommended approval.
However the Planning Inspectorate of Wales overturned the well’s rejection, with planning inspector Clive Nield saying it should be allowed to go ahead as the borehole would have a low-level temporary impact on the site for three to four months and no lasting impact on the landscape.
A protest camp established at the site by campaigners was evicted last week following a legal move by the landowner.