STATEMENT FROM ANGUS MACDONALD MSP ON SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT BLOCKING UCG IN SCOTLAND
Thursday, 06 October 2016 14:45
I fully welcome, as will the vast majority of my constituents in Falkirk East, the Scottish Government’s decision to ensure there will be no Underground Coal Gasification undertaken in Scotland. It goes to prove that research into these processes is absolutely vital for a properly informed decision to be made in the best interests of Scotland. It also highlights that the Scottish Government is a listening government.
The unconventional method of extracting gas, which is distinct from fracking, was placed under a moratorium in 2015 while the Scottish Government reviewed evidence on its safety and environmental impact.
I have always been confident in the extensive research programme put in place by the Scottish Government, and after considering all the evidence, the conclusion there is no place in Scotland for underground coal gasification is the right decision. With Scotland’s massive renewable energy potential it is fundamental that the focus remains on more sustainable energy sources for the future security of energy 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.
In stark contrast, we see a UK Government ploughing billions into new nuclear plants, and with cuts to the feed in tariffs and subsidies for green energy, it is becoming more evident that keeping the rich energy giants sweet is much more important to some, than the future legacy to be dealt with for generations to come
The Scottish Government has made the right decision today which everyone with an interest in climate change and the environment must welcome.