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Ministers call in coal-bed methane project appeals

Words: Roger Milne

The Scottish Government has intervened in two planning appeals for the production of coal-bed methane in Central Scotland.

Dart Energy had applied to Falkirk and Stirling councils for permission to drill at 14 sites in the Airth and the Forth Valley.

Ministers have announced they will now determine Dart Energy’s appeals over the proposed development of coal-bed methane production at a number of sites in the Falkirk and Stirling areas.

The proposals, in an area straddling the Falkirk and Stirling council boundary, would see 22 wells drilled and a gas delivery and water treatment facility built along with associated infrastructure.

The energy company had appealed to the Directorate of Planning and Environmental Appeals last year following non-determination of its applications by the two local planning authorities.

Planning Minister Derek Mackay said the plans were of "national interest" and needed further scrutiny.

Thousands of objections had been sent in to the councils from local residents and green campaigners over the plans.

The minister said the decision to call in the planning appeals was "in line with the government's cautious, considered and evidence-based approach to unconventional oil and gas extraction in Scotland".