SCIENTISTS from around the globe could soon be descending on Prees as part of a scientific project to examine the Earth's history.

The Early Jurassic Earth System and Timescale (JET) project seeks to analyse what the climate of the Earth looked like between 174 and 201 million years ago.

The project involves drilling a bore hole almost a kilometre into the Earth's crust, to retrieve a core sample, which will then be analysed.

One of the key people involved in the project is Professor Pete Hesselbo from Exeter University, who says the site in Prees is possibly the only site in the world with the makeup of Earth they wish to examine.

"It's part of a scientific project about Earth's history," said Prof Hesselbo. "At that location there's a good history of the Jurassic period.

"It's an international project, with about 50 scientists from all over the world involved.

"By making measurements of the core, we can get a record of climate changes over 25 million years as well as getting a record of solar system changes. So it's not just looking at the Earth, but looking at changes in the solar system too.

"It's been known about for a while that there are Jurassic rocks there. It's on geological maps and we know a little bit from geophys.

"In developing the project we've realised this is probably the only place in the world where this exists.

"The plan at the moment is to build a drill pad. The drill rig itself is on the back of a truck but you have to build a pad around the site.

"We've still got contractual arrangements to fill but construction of the rig will probably take place in February, with drilling taking place in March and April. That is the plan at least."

Shropshire Council recently granted planning permission for the drill to be constructed on land belonging to Platt Farm near Prees, and an agreement for occupation of the application site has been entered into between Exeter University and landowner Richard Beddoes, who said he was "quite happy" for the drilling to take place.

"I was approached by the university about six months ago," said Richard. "They said they were looking for a site for scientific drilling, not for fracking.

"They knew the site was ideal from an oil rig 40 years ago. They didn't have the details as oil companies are very secretive about what they find but they knew the site was good.

"I thought no problem, it's right on the end of our drive. It'll be seen from the road quite spectacularly.

"We're very happy to accommodate though, it's only about an acre and it should be back ready for spring."