Chester Zoo has raised concerns about potential methane gas extraction close to its site.

The zoo issued a statement after demonstrators yesterday gathered in Duttons Lane, Upton, where Dart Energy has permission for an exploratory borehole a short distance from the city’s number one tourist attraction.

 

This follows the establishment of a protest camp by Dart’s other coal bed methane test drill at Marsh House Lane, Farndon.

A zoo spokesperson said: “As a conservation charity with a mission ‘to become a major force in conserving biodiversity worldwide’ Chester Zoo is concerned about unconventional gas extraction in the UK including locations close to the site of the zoo.”

It listed its concerns as:

  • The potential for direct and indirect negative impacts on wildlife and the wider environment during the construction and the operational phases.
  • Unconventional gas extraction appears incompatible with the country’s climate change targets because burning fossil fuels contributes to carbon emissions.
  • If unconventional gas extraction goes ahead to the extent suggested, it could lead to the UK becoming gas dependent for decades, diverting attention from renewable energy.

The spokesperson added: “Chester Zoo recognises that keeping down the cost of energy is a very important issue for UK householders and businesses and would therefore encourage government to ensure that there is a robust regulatory framework developed.

“This would need to not only ensure environmental and biodiversity protection, but also set out a strategy of how unconventional gas extraction can contribute to the UK’s energy needs without compromising the climate change targets.”

The zoo has written to Chester MP Stephen Mosley and Cheshire West and Chester Council outlining its concerns.

Public meetings about the test drill site take place at Upton Westlea Primary School at 7pm on Wednesday, March 26, and at Upton Village Hall at 7.30pm the following evening.