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Scottish Government “cannot support” underground coal gasification

Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse confirmed this week that, following expert advice, he would update planning rules to ensure that underground coal gasification would not be able to take place.

Mr Wheelhouse told MSPs that the gas extraction technique "poses numerous and serious environmental risks" and that it would consequently have "no place in Scotland's energy mix at this time".  Environmental groups have welcomed the news, but the Conservatives said they were "deeply disappointed".

Scottish Conservative energy spokesman Alexander Burnett said:

“It’s deeply disappointing that the Scottish Government is taking this stance – it’s yet another missed opportunity.

“The SNP has closed the door on shale, and now it’s doing the same for underground coal gasification.

“These technologies could create thousands of jobs, boost the economy and lower future energy bills.

“The SNP is at great pains to say how different fracking and UCG are – perhaps their biggest similarity is the SNP’s dogmatic objection to them both.

“Even the Scottish Government’s own adviser is partially blaming ministers for not having the proper regulatory regime in place as a reason for this not happening.

“If we don’t start embracing these technologies, we risk getting left behind altogether.”


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