A PUBLIC inquiry opens on Tuesday into a plan to drill for gas near Falkirk.
It has been called after Falkirk and Stirling councils failed to reach a decision on Dart Energy’s proposal submitted almost two years ago.
The company wants to drill 22 wells at Airth to extract coal bed methane, a natural gas released by pumping out water from seams deep underground.
The plan, which includes ancillary facilities and treatment works, is opposed by Concerned Communities, an umbrella group which claims it could cause environmental damage.
Dart says the gas would be delivered into the national grid and the water treated to standards agreed with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and discharged into the Firth of Forth.
Douglas Bain, UK head of the Australian company, said: “We will seek through the public inquiry to address and allay with scientific rigour the concerns of the communities and at the same time correct the many myths surrounding the production of coal bed methane.”
The inquiry is expected to last three weeks.