A RELIEVED residents group celebrated after an energy firm withdrew its plan to drill for gas in their village.
People living in Crewe-by-Farndon were initially shocked to learn of Composite Energy’s application to drill for gas stored in coal beneath local farmland.
But fears were allayed, for now, as the Scottish company confirmed that they were withdrawing their application for a licence from Cheshire West and Chester Council.
Spokesman Peter Reilly said: “The application has been withdrawn but it is nothing to do with the 17-page objection document.
“The plans have been deferred as there is possibility they could be resubmitted but for now we are allowing the land owner to work within his cropping and agricultural restrictions.”
The residents’ group, led by Chester planner Justin Paul, told The Chronicle that while success had been achieved in their village, there were many other sites across the Cheshire countryside and Chester that were and will be used as drilling locations.
Mr Paul said: “We welcome the action of the applicant in withdrawing this application. It validates the concerns we raised in respect of highway safety, noise, public access, residential and visual amenity harm to landscape and biodiversity interests and public access and residential amenity.
“However, we would like to express our concern that this is just one site amongst many and that the applicants will no doubt now explore alternative sites in the locality.”
“The council has recently granted permission for other proposals at Caldecott, Shocklach and Hargrave with little consideration to assessment of impact or to planning policy guidance, while there are also undetermined live applications in Upton, Mickle Trafford, Picton and Farndon.
“With any luck this news will now raise the profile among other communities and enable the impacts of drilling to be properly assessed by CWAC officers.”
Composite Energy is investigating whether areas of Cheshire are suitable for extracting of coal bed methane.
If gas levels are deemed to be large enough to supply industry and the national grid then the temporary 15m tall drilling rig would be replaced by a larger unit.
The company has confirmed once the drilling and analysis work is completed the farmland will be returned to agricultural.