Fuelling fears about Forth gas extraction

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Alison Johnstone, Green MSP for Lothian and a member of Holyrood’s economy and energy committee, is urging communities around the Forth to oppose plans for underground coal gasification.

Cluff, one of a number of firms with licences to extract gas from coal seams around the Scottish coast, intends to apply for planning permission to develop drilling operations under the Firth of Forth.

Gasification involves drilling into coal seams, igniting them and capturing the resulting gas.

Even with as-yet unproven carbon capture and storage technology, the process would still emit more greenhouse gases than renewables.

Alison said: “Just a week after being warned that we need to urgently phase out fossil fuels, we have a company preparing to drill for yet more. In recent months I’ve been hearing from local people rightly alarmed at the prospect of unconventional gas drilling in their area.

“I’d urge communities to oppose such developments.

“Local authorities and the environmental regulator must take into account the climate impact from this proposal.

“It also poses an economic risk by extracting fossil fuel we simply can’t afford to burn and diverting attention away from the renewables sector.”