One of Scotland’s best-known national drinks could have been at risk of contamination because of toxic pollution of groundwater if the go ahead had been given for nearby coal bed methane extraction plans – a type of unconventional gas production which could involve fracking.  SEPA have criticised an application containing poor borehole design over fears that the development could have endangered underground water supplies near the Irn Bru plant in central Scotland.

Mary Church, head of campaigns, said, “SEPA have rather quietly raised serious concerns about groundwater contamination from risky directional drilling for gas, and accumulating evidence from Australia and the USA indicates that unconventional gas activities have contaminated aquifers there.

“Unconventional gas is a novel industry in Scotland, and we could end up being the UK’s guinea pigs if Dart’s plans for commercial coal bed methane at Airth go ahead. Experts have warned that the company’s poor comprehension of the local geology and inadequate modelling could put groundwater in the area at risk of contamination.

“The Government needs to have a serious think about whether the dubious prize of unconventional gas is worth risking the reputation of some of the best known drinks in the world. It’s not just much-loved Irn Bru at risk from this dirty industry, but a world famous food and drink industry, which forms a major part of Scotland’s economy.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors

1. Santos have come under fire for aquifer contamination this month: http://www.smh.com.au/environment/santos-coal-seam-gas-project-contamina…

2. News article in Sunday Herald: http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/environment/public-inquiry-will-hear-…

3.More information about unconventional gas and coalbed methane extraction: http://www.foe-scotland.org.uk/fracking

4. 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