Methane dispute

PLANS for a methane power station has been blasted for being within 100 yards of homes in Leigh.

Wigan councillors approved a gas-powered generator station near the site of the old Bickershaw Colliery.

Alkane Energy will drill more than 1,000ft down into the coal seam in Plank Lane to unleash a build up of the ‘firedamp’ after initial tests revealed there could be commercial quantities for 25 years of electrical generation.

The company’s agent Neil Baker told the development committee this week that the operation won’t cause subsidence problems or create aerial or ground pollution of any kind.

The scheme was backed by Labour Coun Jeanette Prescott.

But Independent Coun Jim Ellis supported the petitions and letter of objection on behalf of more than 250 adjoining homes.

He said: “At the moment this plant is going to be erected 100 yards or so from people’s houses.

“And I can see why they are concerned, particularly when you are talking about gas and the fear of what could happen if something serious goes wrong.

“Moving it further away from the well site and laying on pipes to carry the gas will give these residents the peace of mind they deserve.

“I don’t think that we are here to save this company a few pounds.”

Alkane has won permission for an exploratory borehole which will measure the potential gas reserves.