Anti-fracking campaigners in east Kent welcome delay to public meeting after Kent County Council asks Coastal Oil and Energy for more details
County planners have postponed a public meeting on contentious proposals for exploratory gas boreholes in east Kent.
The council says it has asked the company behind the applications for licences to drill for methane gas for more information.
The meeting was to have been held early next month, but Kent County Council planning chiefs say they need the company Coastal Oil and Energy for more details.
Anti-fracking campaigners at the former Tilmanstone Colliery site
It means decisions on whether or not to give the go ahead for exploratory drilling are not likely to be made until early next year.
Campaigners have welcomed the delay, claiming it raises further doubts about the safety of the boreholes - all of which are in Dover.
In a letter explaining the background to the delay, KCC's planning chief Sharon Thompson says the authority needs "significant further information" about the applications, which are now expected to "change significantly".
Julie Wassamer, of East Kent Against Fracking, welcomed the postponement.
"This allows much more time to bring to public's attenton what these applications would mean for the whole area," she said. "We are really pleased because this shows that KCC understands that this is a very complex issue."
Cllr John Davies, chairman of KCC's planning committee, said: "It would be wrong to hold a public meeting and ask for local opinion on these proposals when we are not in possession of the full facts.
"It is possible that there could be substantial changes in information. For the same reason, it would also be inappropriate for committee members to visit the three sites."
The applications are for exploratory drilling at sites around Dover at Shepherdswell, Guston and Tilmanstone.
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