Commenting on the revelation in today's (24 July) Sunday Herald that an independent review of Underground Coal Gasification is likely to be very critical of the industry [1], Friends of the Earth Scotland Head of Campaigns Mary Church said:

“We warmly welcome Professor Gemmell’s suggestion that he shares our assessment of the disastrous track record of the Underground Coal Gasification industry around the world. We hope this is a clear sign that his independent review will come to the conclusion that underground coal gasification should not be permitted to go ahead, vindicating our calls, and those of communities threatened by this industry, for a ban.

“Underground coal gasification trials around the world have led to serious soil and water contamination, subsidence and industrial accidents putting workers health at risk. Even in the highly unlikely event that UCG could ever be done safely, the climate change consequences of opening up vast coal reserves are enough of a reason to say no to this unnecessary fossil fuel technique.

“We urge the Scottish Government to come to a swift decision to ban underground coal gasification, ending the threat for communities around the Forth and Solway Firths.”

The Scottish Government announced a moratorium on Underground Coal Gasification October 2015. This is separate to the moratorium in place on shale gas fracking and coalbed methane. The Government appointed Professor Campbell Gemmell, former CEO of SEPA, to lead an independent examination of the issues and evidence surrounding the UCG industry. Professor Gemmell is due to report to the Scottish Government by the end of summer. [2]

Friends of the Earth International are due to publish a report tomorrow on the history of Underground Coal Gasification trials and projects around the world. The report will demonstrate the threat this industry poses in terms of climate change as well as local environmental and health risks. 


Notes for Editors

1. Sunday Herald story:  “Revealed: blow to controversial plans to burn coal under the sea” http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/14638753.Revealed__blow_to_controvers…

2. http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Business-Industry/Energy/onshoreoilandgas/UCG…

3. Friends of the Earth Scotland is
* Scotland's leading environmental campaigning organisation
* An independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland
* Part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 75 national member groups, and some 5,000 local activist groups.