• Planning approval has been granted for test drilling for gas south of St Nicholas
  • The site is in a field 1 mile from Dyffryn Gardens, and 0.5 miles from Amelia Trust Farm
  • Test drilling will be on a relatively small scale, but still involve some disturbance and heavy vehicles.
If gas is found and commercially exploited:
  • Huge volumes of water will have to be transported to the site off Five-Mile Lane by road
  • Water, mixed with chemicals and rock chippings will have to be removed from the site, by road for
    "safe disposal"
  • Any gas will also have to be removed from the site by road or pipes - or burnt on site... 
  • Drilling is a noisy, 24 hour operation

This is an attempt to provide balanced information for the residents of 
St. Nicholas.  Check the news page and FaceBook group too.

Coastal Oil and Gas have applied to drill a single vertical exploration borehole 1.5 miles south of St Nicholas village - Planning Application reference: 

The site at St Nicholas is one of three sites at which Coastal Oil and Gas Ltd. want to drill at, the others being at Llandow and Bonvilston, off the lane south of the Aubrey Arms.  Residents opposing the development at Bonvilston (Planning reference: 2013/00335/FUL) can be contacted by email:

Contact this site for more information on the St Nicholas drilling site.

The site lies in open countryside between Dyffryn Gardens and the Amelia Trust Farm, close to CADW sites including Tinkinswood and St Lythans Burial Chambers.

If the exploration drilling discovers gas, it's possible that fracking will occur in the near future to retrieve it.  This will require the borehole to either to be connected to a new pipe network, or a small power station building on the site to generate electricity, which will have to be connected to the national grid.

Where will the drilling take place?
The borehole will be 400 metres east of Five-Mile Lane, towards Dyffryn.  Map

It will be 1.5 miles (2.5km's) from St Nicholas village, less than a mile (1.2km's) from Dyffryn House and Gardens, 1.6 miles (2.7km's) from Bonvilston and 1.5 miles (2.5km's) from Barry.  The initial exploration borehole will drill down vertically, however, if gas is found, to extract it will mean that the the drill will level off and drill horizontally, possibly under homes.

How deep will they drill?
Drilling will go down to a depth of about 1,000 metres.  The drilling cuttings will be placed in a skip and disposed of at a licensed facility.

When will drilling take place? 

Drilling is a 24 hour process, requiring lights and creating noise and vibration.  The initial exploration drilling will last for 6 weeks.

What does the drill look like?
It is believed that the drill will be approximately 
12 metres high and be visible over a considerable distance.

Picture is from a similar scheme near Blackpool.

Click here to see the site layout plan.

How will the site be lit at night?
There will be four hooded temporary lights, on lighting stands of no more than 3 metres in height pointing down towards the site so that light will not shine directly from the site.  Only flame proof lights will be used within 7 metres of the borehole.

What drilling fluid/lubricant will be used?
Coastal Oil and gas will be using "Pure•Bore ®  is a natural biodegradable drilling fluid, which can be used in a wide variety of drilling applications. Specially produced, dry free flowing polymer, Pure•Bore ®  provides exceptional borehole stability and cuttings removal in a wide range of ground conditions."  It should be noted that biodegradability takes time and depends on the conditions in which the bacteria are asked to degrade the substance.  The fluid could take many years/decades/centuries to biodegrade - and may have traveled from the underground aquifers to local springs, streams and rivers prior to degrading.

How will the drilling affect the local environment?
An unknown quantity of drilling fluid will enter the aquifer under St Nicholas as the drill penetrates, prior to the borehole being sealed.  Noise and light will unavoidably have some impact on local wildlife.

Coastal Oil and Gas have acquired the following Ecological assessment:

St Nicholas Site Location
Ecological Assessment 
UK Methane Ltd are proposing to drill a trial borehole near St Nicholas at grid reference SO08247164 in the Vale of Glamorgan. This will involve a mobile drilling rig and associated temporary infrastructure including site offices and storage. The operation is expected to take about 3 months to complete. 
An ‘extended Phase 1’ survey was undertaken at the site. This involved a qualified ecologist walking the site and recording details of habitat present and looking for signs of any protected species such as badger. The information gathered was then used to undertake a brief assessment of potential ecological impact.  
A habitat walkover survey was undertaken on 14 March 2013 in fine weather. 
The land on which the application is being made was to the north of a minor road running roughly east to west. It was in the corner of an arable field on which piles of manure had been tipped. 
At the time of the visit the main habitats on the site were bare ground, two manure heaps and pools of nutrient-rich water. On the older heap some ruderal plant species were growing, notably Spear Thistle Cirsium vulgare. 
The  proposed  site  was  bordered  to  the  south  by  a  narrow  lane  and  hedgerow although part of the hedgerow had been removed for access to the manure heaps.  

Another field boundary to the east of the site, almost at right angles to the road and running  north  to  south, was  a  fence  line  with  some  long grass  and  brambles.  The section  of  fence  alongside  the  proposed  site  location  near  the  road  had  been removed so that the adjacent field was easily accessible. Large pools in waterlogged ground lay in the gap between the proposed location and the field to the east. 

No rare or protected plants were noted. The March visit was too early in the year to look for arable weeds but the farmland was intensively managed so is unlikely to hold important species. 
No signs of protected species such as badger were seen. 
Hedgerows are listed as a Habitat of Principle Importance in Wales under Section 42 of the NERC Act 2006. 
There are no ecological concerns about the proposed development on this site. 
As the site is a much disturbed area of farmland and the drilling will only involve minimum disturbance to the site for three months it is considered little mitigation is required. However, if possible the missing section of hedgerow could be re-created and a new hedge planted along the north to south field boundary.  

The site at St Nicholas is much disturbed farmland. The proposed drilling will cause disturbance to small areas of the site for a maximum of three months. The remnant hedgerow to the south will be unaffected by the proposed works.  
It is therefore concluded that the proposed works will have no long-term impact on the site, and the habitat should recover post disturbance.   

How will I be affected by noise?

A noise impact assessment has been carried out by Hunter Acoustics.  

Will the site be visually screened?

A screening opinion has been provided for three sites in the Vale of Glamorgan, including the one in St Nicholas.  It's possible that there is an error on this report, as site 2 is believed to be between Llancarfan and Bonvilston, south of the Aubrey Arms, and not on Vale of Glamorgan Councillor Rhodri Traherne's Coedrhydyglyn Estate.

Who are Coastal Oil and Gas Ltd?

Coastal Oil and Gas Ltd, Bridgend, are principally involved in the exploration of UK onshore gas reserves. It has a 50% interest in 100 sq. km. of Petroleum Exploration and Development Licence (PEDL 219) which is part of a licence holding in South Wales of 1052.4sq. km. The remaining
50% is held by Adamo Energy (UK) Limited a wholly owned subsidiary of Eden Energy Limited of Perth, Australia.

Can I see the application?

Coastal Oil and Gas's application can be seen here.

Where can I get more information?

The Vale of Glamorgan have uploaded supporting information for the proposed exploration drilling at Bonvilston/Llancarfan.  Supporting Information.

For the latest news, click here.

Click to enlarge:
Source: National Geographic

What Is Fracking?  By National Geographic

What is fracking?

BBC North West Fracking Series 28-11-11

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BBC Newsnight: fracking regulators inadequate

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Water On Fire 

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 BBC One - What is fracking? - Bang Goes the Theory - Series 6 Episode 1 

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UK FRACKING - You Decide

30.11.11.Speakers, Chairman Dr Phillip Stott, Prof Ian Plimer, Donna Laframboise, Ruth Lee +Matt Ridley.

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Facts on Fracking - How is it Different

Dr. Anthony Ingraffea from Cornell University 

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Phil Doe Lecture

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Fracking Exploration: 'Shale expert' gives presentation

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The Economist

The Vale Says No - local campaign group