Concern over sub-sea coal burning plan

Largo Bay
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Local councillors hope to meet soon with the oil baron behind controversial proposals to set fire to coal seams off Fife’s coast.

Tomorrow (Thursday), Algy Cluff is due to meet Scotland’s Energy Minister, Fergus Ewing, to discuss plans to ignite coal beneath the Firth of Forth at Largo Bay and Kincardine, and pipe the gas to shore.

Councillor Tom Adams

Councillor Tom Adams

Mr Cluff has already secured licenses from the Coal Authority for the procedure, known as underground coal gasification (UCG), in the belief that burning billions of tons of sub-sea coal would produce enough gas to fuel Britain economically for many years.

Mr Cluff still needs further permission but, already, environmental concerns have been aired, with fears that Fife’s rising mine water levels could be polluted with carcinogenic chemicals, which could then leak into the environment.

Ex-miner Councillor Tom Adams, Levenmouth area committee chairman, said: “It might be a really good project but how do we allay these fears of contamination? Also, how many jobs would it create and what is the benefit to the community?” Cllr Adams said he had spoken to Mr Cluff, who hoped to meet local councillors to explain the process.