Natural Resources Wales (NRW) is inviting people to comment on an application for an environmental permit to safely manage waste from an exploratory oil and gas borehole in Neath Port Talbot.
Planning permission to carry out exploratory drilling at Foel Fynyddau, Pontrhydyfen, was granted to UK Methane Limited by the local Planning Authority in March 2015. The proposed operation falls within land managed by NRW on behalf of Welsh Government.
NRW will now carry out an in-depth assessment into the company’s proposals to ensure that waste from the drilling, such as rock and soil, can be moved off site without harming the local community and the environment.
The application does not ask for permission to conduct hydraulic fracturing (‘fracking’) or to extract any oil or gas.
A spokesperson from NRW said:
“We only issue an environmental permit to a company if we are satisfied its detailed plans make it clear that it can operate safely, without harming the environment or local communities.
“Before making our decision, we will carry out a thorough assessment of UK Methane Limited’s plans.
“We will be consulting with specialist organisations such as the Health and Safety Executive and Public Health Wales to make sure we have all the relevant information to help us reach a decision on whether or not to issue an Environmental Permit.
“We are also inviting people to comment and provide us with any relevant information they believe we should consider as part of our assessment.
“Details of how people can have their say are available on our website or by phoning 0300 065 3000 (Mon-Fri, 8am-6pm).”
The consultation will run until Sunday 11 October. Electronic copies of the application can be requested from email@example.com.
Oil and gas operators must have permits, licences and consents from a number of organisations before they can begin any exploratory activities.
The nature of these permissions will depend on the nature of the proposed activities, the geology of the site and local environmental features.
More information on these responsibilities and onshore oil and gas is available from www.naturalresources.wales/onshoreoilandgas.