Council amid potential UCG rethink

Picture: Allan Hutchings
Picture: Allan Hutchings

Warwickshire’s countryside will no longer be investigated as a potential site for gasification, it is understood.

It is believed that Cluff Natural Resources (CNR) will allow their conditional underground coal gasification (UCG) licence application to lapse as they search for more suitable areas.

The decision has not yet been confirmed by the company, but was reportedly stated in a letter to Warwickshire County Council leader, Izzi Seccombe after huge opposition to the proposals.

A chunk of land near Leamington and Southam had been earmarked as a potential site for extracting gas from coal reserves in what sparked anger among residents.

And while the decision by CNR does not mean the licence will not be issued, the turnaround would mean it is less likely or plans to progress as previously planned.

The county council is also yet to officially confirm the U-turn but it is understood to have been accepted by officers.

Gareth Herd, of No UCG Warwickshire - a group formed to fight the gasification in the county - said: “We would prefer to hear that CNR is withdrawing from UCG entirely.

“Many areas of the nation are still under threat from this insidious technology.

“The implications for both the environment, climate change and those who will be afflicted are enormous.

“Obviously the coal beneath our feet is of interest to other companies with ambitions similar to Cluff Natural Resources so we must be on our guard for future applications for both this and other areas of the county.”

Cllr Bally Singh, Labour’s Parliamentary candidate for Kenilworth and Southam who has fought the gasification plans up to now, said he was “glad” that the application will be lapsed.

He also assured that a new petition opposing the UCG proposals will still be presented to the council in order to protect the land from future threats of gasification.