Scotland bans underground coal gasification

Scotland bans underground coal gasification

The Scottish Government has confirmed it will not support underground coal gasification (UCG) developments.

It put a moratorium on UCG last year so evidence could be gathered and considered and a new independent report highlights “serious development concerns”.

UCG is a method of extracting gas from coal seams that are too deep underground to be mined using traditional techniques.

Professor Campbell Gemmell from the University of Glasgow, who was tasked to undertake the study, found the UCG industry has a history of incidents of pollution and losses of containment.

His report also states it presents a serious issue in reducing Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions without an operational storage method such as carbon capture.

The Scottish Government has therefore said UCG will have “no place in Scotland’s energy mix”.

The announcement does not apply to Scotland’s existing moratorium on onshore unconventional oil and gas, including fracking.

Business, Innovation and Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “Having considered the report in detail, it is the Scottish Government’s view that UCG poses numerous and serious environmental risks and on that basis, the Scottish Government cannot support this technology.

“In Professor Gemmell’s report he recommends it would be wise to consider an approach to UCG based upon a precautionary presumption against the technology and that it would appear logical to progress toward a ban.”

Mr Wheelhouse has written to the UK Government, requesting it issues no further UCG licences in Scotland and that existing licences are revoked.

ELN has contacted the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) for a statement.

Earlier today, the UK Government overturned Lancashire County Council’s decision and gave Cuadrilla the green light to frack.