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So the frack-wagon moves on. This time it's not Cuadrilla but IGas, who along with Dart Energy and Cuadrilla are the top three main players in UK 'shale play' (actual corporate speak). IGas announced plans last Thursday to drill an exploratory well in the countryside of Barton Moss in Salford, Manchester.

A 'consultation' took place on Tuesday (17th) in Salford stadium. Only a handful of people ventured in, leaving IGas employees loitering at the back of an empty hall eating doughnuts, while a demo outside showed they weren't going to be able to rock up and spout propaganda undisturbed.

The drilling will begin next month - the exact date's not known - and last for twelve weeks,with a budget of £15 million. The Barton Moss site consists of an football pitch sized area of land, surrounded by farmland but with two schools and some houses within a mile. Recent scientific research has proved the danger of poisonous gas flaring for those living within 7 miles of fracking testing, and the danger to farm animals. It's also close to the natural area of Chat Moss, of great  importance to locals.

IGas are an extreme energy company who've been trying to lead the way in expanding coal bed methane (CBM) extraction in the UK. They have three or four CBM wells, such as their Doe Green site in Warrington which has been producing gas via CBM for three years. They recently drilled down further in one in Inces Marshes, Cheshire, and found shale. Knowing how shale is in vogue, they jumped straight on the bandwagon and hawked for investors.

The licence in Barton Moss is a hangover from the days before IGas bought out it's predecessor Nexen UK. As with many other licences, it was granted back in the day before fracking and extreme energy had reached the public consciousness, in this case in 2010. And although the licence is for CBM, as the processes look little different on the surface that fact's unlikely to hinder any plans.

Local resisters have been internet organising so far, under the name Say No to Fracking on Barton Moss, but as the threat suddenly becomes more real it's time for action. Exploratory drilling for shale is a costly process and one in which keeping costs down is of paramount importance. IGas have surely factored a security budget into their plans, but a concerted effort from the anti-fracking movement is needed to make it as expensive and difficult as possible. The 'Battle of Balcombe' showed environmental protesters are willing to stand with local communities to put resistance on the map. Barton Moss is Round Two.

For more see FRACK OFF

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Update: So the landowner came, saw the numbers of protecters, the lock-ons, the bike-powered smoothie makers and the music, and returned home after refusing to talk to either the protesters or the press. But it isn't over – bailiffs could return at any time. Email GH your phone number if you want to be part of the phone tree or join the mailing list on the website: http://www.transitionheathrow.com… info@transitionheathrow.com

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Re-occupation of the Hambach Forest, near Cologne in Germany, where activists occupy and fight the expansion of opencast mining.

Twitter: @SchNEWS