Commenting on the Sunday Herald’s revelation that struggling gas company Dart Energy has secret plans to bring in up to three tankers of propane a day to bring their gas up to necessary standards at their proposed developments at Airth, Friends of the Earth Scotland Campaigns Co-ordinator Mary Church said:

“If these allegations are true they cast a major cloud over Dart’s much delayed planning application and the economics of their coalbed methane scheme. The low energy content of Dart’s product could be the final straw for this uncertain development, and indeed the end of unconventional gas plans in Scotland.

“Having to add nearly a hundred tonnes of propane a day because their own gas is so poor must be stretching the profit margin on this scheme to breaking point. With their share price in freefall and major job cuts underway this is the last thing Dart’s investors will want to hear.

“Local people will be appalled to learn that they could face three tankers of highly explosive propane passing through their communities each day. Dart needs to come clean on the full scale and all the potential pitfalls of their plans so that the councils can make a proper decision on whether to let the application go ahead.”

Friends of the Earth Scotland is calling for a ban on all unconventional gas extraction including fracking.

Church added:

“Unconventional gas extraction is increasingly linked to serious local environmental and health problems in countries such as Australia and the USA where the industry is more developed.

“Scotland has plentiful renewable resources and tough climate targets, the last thing we need is to go after yet more fossil fuels.”

ENDS

For media enquiries, please contact: Per Fischer, Communications Officer, Friends of the Earth Scotland

t: 0131 243 2715

e: rdixon@foe-scotland.org.uk

Notes to Editors

1. Sunday Herald story: http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/burning-issue-poor-gas-qual…

2. Dart Energy’s coalbed methane project at Airth is the most advanced venture in its portfolio, and the most advanced unconventional gas development in Scotland. In September 2012 Dart submitted planning applications to Falkirk and Stirling Councils for 22 new wells at 14 sites, a waste water treatment facility and a network of pipelines to take the development to its commercial production phase. This phase of the project will only access 10 – 20% of the resource in the license area which Dart plan to exploit in coming years, meaning that the area could see many more wells in the coming years if Dart’s plans go ahead. Falkirk and Stirling Council have asked Dart for an extension to decide this application, and a decision is not expected until May.

3. Last week it was revealed that Dart Energy was misleading the local community over their plans to carry out fracking in Scotland: “Secret fracking plans for Scotland revealed” http://www.foe-scotland.org.uk/node/1573

4. Dart Energy’s share price continues to tumble despite major job cuts: “Controversial gas developer Dart Energy fights to stay afloat” http://www.foe-scotland.org.uk/node/1574

5. The New South Wales Government recently introduced a ban on all unconventional gas activity – not just hydraulic fracturing – within 2km of residential areas. See http://www.resources.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/458018/TOUGH… A conservative estimate suggests at least 2,000 homes within 2km of Dart Energy’s Airth development.

6. A number of countries and states already have moratoriums or bans in place including:

France: First country to ban March 2011

Denmark: Moratorium at least until the end of 2013.

Germany: Moratorium in Northrhine-Westphalia

Bulgaria: Ban since January 2012

Romania: Moratorium announced May 2012

Czech Republic: Moratorium in May 2012 considering outright ban Spain: La Rioja region is currently considering implementing a ban on fracking

Quebec: Moratorium pending environmental review

Vermont: Banned in May 2012

New South Wales: Ban on any coal seam gas activity within 2km of residential areas, Feb 2013.

Ireland: 2-year moratorium in March 2013

7. Friends of the Earth Scotland is

* Scotland’s leading environmental campaigning organisation

* An independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland

* Part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 77 national member groups, and some 5,000 local activist groups – covering every continent. www.foe-scotland.org.uk

* An independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland