IT appears Midlothian could be a target for the controversial gas extraction method known as ‘fracking’.
As a former mining area rich in methane gas thanks to its coal reserves, the local authority could be in line for applications from companies keen to extract shale gas reserves from underneath the ground here using hydraulic fracturing – more commonly known as fracking.
Some see fracking as a much needed new source of energy as demand soars, and an opportunity to create jobs – boosting the economy. Others, however, point to the impact it can have on the environment, particularly water contamination and radioactive waste.
So far the little scientific evidence gathered on the subject has thrown up varying conclusions on the amount of shale gas available in the UK and the threat of pollution fracking could cause.
David Hamilton MP (Lab), a former miner, believes the contentious gas extraction method could come to Midlothian, but believes more research should be carried out first.
Green party Councillor Ian Baxter is opposed to the controversial process and compared the search for energy sources to drug use.
A spokesman for Midlothian Council said it had not received any planning applications for fracking in the county.
For more on this feature pick up a copy of the January 24 edition of the Midlothian Advertiser.