There’s gold in that there hill….

Today sees ecstatic news by a smalltime prospector about a supposedly “strategic” amount of oil under Gatwick. So what’s the score in Kelston? Thanks to the UK Infrastructure Act (2015), there’s a legal duty to maximise the economic recovery of UK petroleum. That definition of petroleum extends coal-based methane (CBM).

Nearby Chew Valley has a pretty well-organised anti-fracking group Frack Free Chew Valley, with advice and resources and a process for declaring your land “frack free”.

The group has obtained the 2000 petroleum exploration and development licence relinquishment report of GeoMet, a USian CBM extractor which seems to have asset-stripped itelf in 2014. It cheerfully suggests the potential for 300 CBM extraction wells in Somerset including six in the parish of Kelston.

The licence is now held by gas merchants UK Methane. They applied in 2012 for an exploratory well licence in Keynsham but the plans were put on hold in 2013 after 600 people objected.

Don Foster MP had spoken of a fracking exemption for Bath with its world heritage status and hot springs. And there’s a higher level of protection for designated AONBs.

Let us state clearly we have a problem with CBM under Keslton Roundhill. There’s the NIMBY issue that more roads, trucks, extraction mines, gas pipelines and pollution are entirely at odds with the spirit and purpose of this exceptional location. And there’s the big evolutionary or existential issue: if we dig out and burn all our fossil fuels, suggests Prof Michael Greenstone in the New York Times, the world will get over 16 degrees warmer.

That surely means mass species extinctions, including you and us, compliant politicians and all the directors and shareholders of these benighted and misguided energy companies.

Not cool; not cool at all. Leave it in the ground.

Other resources:

Frack Off campaign

Frack Free Somerset

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