The announcement that a moratorium will be placed on offshore underground coal gasification (UCG) in Scotland has been welcomed by Falkirk East MSP Angus MacDonald. This comes as the Scottish Government announce the timetable for an “extensive” research and consultation process into the impacts of onshore unconventional oil and gas exploration. 

Commenting, SNP MSP Angus MacDonald said:

“This welcome announcement is an extension of the Scottish Government’s cautious, considered, evidence-based approach to unconventional oil and gas and contrasts sharply with the Tory UK government’s gung-ho approach to the issue.

“The existing moratorium on onshore fracking has been welcomed by environmental campaigners and industry representatives alike. It is right that we also have a moratorium on Underground Coal Gasification until we have fully considered the impacts of this technology and the views of the communities which will be most affected.

“This new moratorium on UCG, however, will only cover planning proposals, as exclusive rights to exploit coal resources for UCG will continue to rest with the UK Government. There is a strong case for the full devolution of licensing coal, including underground coal gasification, in line with the forthcoming devolution of licensing of onshore oil and gas." 

SNP MSP David Torrance, added:

“The research and consultation timetable set out by the Scottish Government today shows that they are serious about conducting an extensive and thorough examination of the community, environmental and public health impacts.

“I know that this considered approach will be welcomed by communities and campaigners across Scotland, whatever their views on the issue – their voices will be heard.”

Copyright © Angus MacDonald MSP 2017

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