Councillor calls for more info on UCG

Cllr Tom Adams
Cllr Tom Adams

A town leader has called for more information on the controversial process of underground coal gasification (UCG), ahead of a public meeting due to take place in December.

Councillor Tom Adams, chairman of the Levenmouth area committee, said the public needed to be better informed about the process for which Cluff Natural Resources has a licence to carry out in Largo Bay and the Firth of Forth at Kincardine.

Cllr Adams said: “We need to know exactly how this works.

“An independent scientific panel report issued by the Queensland Government where this has been tested are refusing to offer a licence in Australia until the cavities which created by UCG are tested.

“There is no scientific report on this, and I believe we have to have something in place before we can even think about going ahead.”

Cllr Adams added: “We do need to keep an open mind going into this, because if Cluff Natural Resources can prove this is viable, then it could be good for the area – but they need to prove it first.”

Unconventional gas extraction and the implications for Fife were also discussed at the latest meeting of Fife Council’s Business, Enterprise, Economy & Planning Policy Advisory Group.

Councillor Lesley Laird, executive spokesperson for the group said: “Given recent discussions in Fife and the public meeting in Methil, I think it is incumbent on us to begin work now to look at this from a local perspective.

“That is why the policy advisory group is asking the Council to develop its policy, utilising valuable insight from other parts of the UK as well as from further afield.

“In Australia for example, there is an established industry with significant experience that we can learn from and this will help shape the development of our policy and practice.

“It is vitally important that policy is robust, protects local communities and the wider environment and that the appropriate legislative measures are in place from the offset.”

Cllr Adams concluded: “At the meeting with Algy Cluff, we need to be asking about pollution, about how things are controlled once the coal is set alight, about where the gas that is created will go, and if there will be any community benefits in the area if this goes ahead.

“The more people that can attend the meeting, the better.”

A public meeting about UCG has been organised to take place at the Fife Renewables Innovation Centre on December 10 between 7.00 - 9.00 p.m.