The controversial Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) technology has been blocked in Scotland. The unconventional method of extracting gas, which is distinct from fracking - although Tory Leader in Scotland Ruth Davidson seemed wholly unaware of it at First Minister’s Questions today - was placed under a moratorium in 2015 while the SNP Government reviewed evidence on its safety and environmental impact. A report by Professor Campbell Gemmell published today states that the UCG industry has a history of pollution incidents and would make climate change targets harder to meet without a suitable storage method such as carbon capture. The UK government pulled the plug on a promised £1,000 million carbon capture and storage project, expected to go to Peterhead. Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse MSP announced today that UCG will have no role in Scotland’s energy mix and has asked the UK Government to revoke all existing licences in Scotland Commenting, Kenneth Gibson said:
“Based on the evidence presented, it is absolutely right that the SNP Government has blocked Underground Coal Gasification from taking place in Scotland.
“There are very few examples of UCG operating commercially, and where the technology has been used there has been serious environmental impacts including soil contamination and exposure to toxins. Mistakes in Australia were so bad that a number of prosecutions have been brought. “This expert report also states that, if UCG was operated at scale, the resulting carbon and greenhouse gas emissions would make meeting our climate change targets much more difficult if not impossible. “Carbon emissions would be particularly problematic without accompanying storage technology to mitigate its affects and while the Tories might be happy to bang the drum for UCG they should remember the utter betrayal of the UK Government who u-turned on their plans to invest in Carbon Capture in Scotland.” ENDS