Scottish Government blocks underground coal gasification

The Scottish Government has said that it will not support underground coal gasification (UCG) developments in Scotland, following the publication of a report which it said highlighted 'serious environmental concerns'.

Hollyrood: unconventional oil and gas banned
Hollyrood: unconventional oil and gas banned

The Scottish Government introduced a moratorium on UCG - a process which creates gas from coal underground - in October last year.

The move was separate to its moratorium on onshore unconventional oil and gas, which covers hydraulic fracturing, widely known as fracking.

Professor Campbell Gemmell of the University of Glasgow was tasked to undertake an independent examination of UCG.

The Scottish Government said that Gemmell’s report had concluded that it would be logical "to progress toward a ban" of UCG.

Minister for business, innovation and energy 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.

"Accordingly, UCG will have no place in Scotland’s energy mix at this time."

Wheelhouse said that the Scottish Government "will continue to use planning powers available to it to ensure UCG applications do not receive planning or environmental permission".

The Scottish Government said that its research into onshore unconventional oil and gas was "nearing completion". 

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