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BGS submits Cheshire geo observatory application

The British Geological Survey has said that it has submitted a planning application for the UK Geoenergy Observatory at Ince Marshes in Cheshire.

The announcement follows on from news that drilling of the first 199m deep borehole at the BGS’s geoenergy observatory in Glasgow has just been completed.

The Glasgow observatory will investigate geothermal potential of disused mine workings and, according to the BGS, the Cheshire one will supplement the findings.

The BGS hopes to drill 50 boreholes at the Cheshire site to depths varying from 50m to 1,200m and install a network of 1,800 seismic sensors at the site. The BGS has said that analysis of the rock cores and water samples taken over a 15 year period would make Cheshire home to the best-characterised rock mass in the world and provide a world-class environmental baseline on how the underground system works.

“More and more of the solutions to decarbonising our energy supply will need to come from beneath our feet. Ensuring we take forward these solutions in a sustainable way means understanding more about the system,” said BGS chief scientist Mike Stephenson. “The UK Geoenergy Observatory in Cheshire will build up that high-resolution picture, providing a breakthrough in our understanding. This would be a world first in being able to observe the underground environment so closely and consistently. What we learn in Cheshire will lead the way in understanding the geological environment.”

David Grove, director at technical advisor Ramboll, which is project managing the planning, engineering and construction of the facility, said: ‘The team at our Chester office has been working on the UK Geoenergy Observatories for more than 18 months. Cheshire stands to benefit from this unique science investment into a world-class observatory. The submission of the planning application is a very important milestone, and we would encourage people to participate in the statutory consultation over the coming months.”

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