Margaret Greenwood MP challenges the government to rule out UCG in the Dee Estuary once and for all

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28 Apr 2017
Margaret Greenwood MP has written to Greg Clark, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, calling on him to clarify government policy on Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) and to give a commitment not to renew the licence held by Cluff Natural Resources Plc for UCG in the Dee Estuary when it expires in January 2018.

Margaret Greenwood MP said:

“I have written to the Secretary of State calling on him to rule out once and for all the renewal of the Underground Coal Gasification licence held by Cluff Natural Resources for UCG in the Dee Estuary.

“The government says it is phasing out coal fired power stations, which burn coal at the surface, because they damage air quality and because they are simply not sustainable.

“However, the government has not yet ruled out UCG.

“UCG also damages the environment by burning coal underground to produce energy. Support for UCG is just not consistent with ending the use of coal-fired power stations.

“We cannot allow UCG to damage the unique coastline here in Wirral. The Hilbre Islands are part of a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and the estuary is a place of international importance for migrating birds.

“The sight of seals swimming around the islands is something that should be there for all to enjoy. The beaches of Hoylake, West Kirby and Thurstaston are enjoyed by both visitors and local residents.

“Allowing the development of UCG in the Dee Estuary would damage the quality of life in Hoylake, Thurstaston and West Kirby, damage local house prices and put many tourism-related businesses at risk.

“The government should rule out UCG once and for all.”

In January 2013 the Coal Authority granted a conditional exploratory licence on behalf of the government for 5 years to Cluff Natural Resources Plc for UCG in the Dee Estuary.

The company said in July 2015 that it was putting plans for UCG in the estuary on hold to focus on a project in Scotland.

However, it did not rule out going ahead in the Dee Estuary at some point in the future. In its statement at the time, it said that “While we currently have no plans to do any intrusive work in the area there are a number of political or financial events that could change that position in the future.”

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