Fracking plans may pose threat to Bath's ancient springs

 

Michael McCarthy
Thursday 29 September 2011 00:00
Comments

The world-famous hot springs of the city of Bath may be threatened by fracking, the controversial technique for exploiting underground supplies of shale gas, the Government was told yesterday.

Bath and North East Somerset Council sounded the alarm to ministers about licences to use the technique, which involves fracturing rock formations by pumping in liquids at high pressure, that have been granted to two companies prospecting for gas in the Mendip Hills to the south of the city.

The licences have been granted by the Department for Environment to both Eden Energy and UK Methane, and they are now in the process of applying to Mendip District Council for planning permission to begin test drilling.

"There is great concern that the process of fracking will result in the water courses leading to the natural hot springs being contaminated with pollutants from this process, or for the waters to adopt a different direction of travel through new fractures in the underlying rocks," said Bath and North East Somerset council leader, Paul Crossley.

"The council has obtained the very best expert advice on this matter and there is little to suggest that any thought has been given to the potential for damage to the deep-water sources that supply the springs in Bath. The hot springs are a crucial part of the tourist attraction that sustains thousands of jobs in the city. The council must stand up against these drilling proposals in the strongest possible terms."

The hot springs of Bath were known before Roman times and the Romans used them to establish a spa with the Latin name Aquae Sulis, or the waters of Sulis, a local deity. In recent years they have been restored and are a major attraction of the city.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in