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Three applications to test drill for gas have been approved by Vale of Glamorgan Council's planning committee.
Bridgend company Coastal Oil and Gas Ltd wants to carry out exploratory tests at three sites at Llandow, Llantrithyd, and near Dyffryn.
The test drilling could then lead to the process of hydraulic fracturing - or fracking - where water, sand and chemicals are pumped into a well to split the rock, and release gas.
Campaigners have raised fears about water contamination, and say even exploratory drilling will damage the countryside with excess noise and traffic.
Supporters say fracking could provide vital affordable energy.
Cliff Patten, Planning Consultant for Coastal Oil and Gas Ltd - whose applications to test drill for gas are being considered by Vale of Glamorgan Council this evening - says the company has drilled six boreholes in South Wales "without any major incidents."
He told our Correspondent Carole Green "this is a fairly ordinary application - hundreds of these have been drilled" throughout the UK.
Anti-fracking campaigners in the Vale Of Glamorgan are tonight demonstrating in Barry, to demand that councillors turn down plans to test drill at three sites.
The Brigend company Coastal Oil and Gas Ltd wants to carry out exploratory tests at locations including Llandow and Llantrithyd. It also has plans to test drill near Llantrisant.
The protest group Villages Against Drilling says exploratory drilling for gas will spoil the countryside, but those in favour dismiss the environmental concerns, saying test drilling is a step on the road to fracking which in turn could provide vital affordable energy.
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