People living in the Pontrhydyfen area are being urged to fight plans to drill for gas in Foel Fynyddau Forest.
A public meeting is being held tomorrow night (April 28) to discuss proposals submitted by a company called UK Methane.
It has applied to Neath Port Talbot Council for permission to drill a borehole to test for coal bed methane and shale gas in the forest at Pontrhydyfen.
Residents must register their concerns with the council before May 9, when the consultation period ends.
Keith Ross, who is campaigning against the plan, said: “This application will not involve hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”), but the company has made clear in their application that if the testing is successful they intend to submit an additional planning application for “longer term pilot production”.
“This exploration borehole could be the start of a much larger project to extract gas from the local area – leading to industrialisation of the countryside, major disruption and the possibility of “fracking”, which poses a significant risk of pollution to the local environment.”
A meeting to discuss the proposals at Cwmafan Community Centre last Tuesday was packed with worried locals and a big turn out is expected at a second public meeting at the Blue Scar Club in Pontrhydyfen on Monday (April 28) at 7pm.
Neath Port Talbot Mayor, Councillor Marian Lewis, called on the 7,000 voters across the area register their concerns, saying: “People power is important.”
Keith Ross said: “If you are concerned about this application, write to or go and see your local councillor and tell them of your concerns. Ask them to attend the planning committee meeting and to ensure that your concerns are raised with the committee.
“Write to or go and see your local assembly member(s) and tell them of your concerns. The land where they will be drilling is owned by the Welsh Government and managed by Natural Resources Wales. This makes the application a matter of interest to assembly members.”
For full details of the proposals, go to the Neath Port Talbot Council planning applications website and search for the planning application number P2014/0217.
The application will be decided by the council’s planning committee on May 27.