Angus MP Mike Weir has welcomed the announcement from the Scottish Government that a moratorium will be placed on offshore underground coal gasification (UCG) in Scotland. 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.
Mr Weir, a former SNP Spokesperson on Energy at Westminster, has campaigned against fracking and welcomed the extension of the moratorium to cover UCG
“This issue has been raised with me by a large number of my Angus constituents who are deeply concerned about the potential implications of this technology.”
“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.”