Plaid Cymru condemn plans to set coal seams alight under the Dee estuary
Plans to set coal seams alight under the Dee estuary have been condemned by Plaid Cymru’s shadow minister for natural resources Llyr Gruffydd AM.
The Party of Wales recently voted to oppose the controversial idea of underground coal gasification (UCG) at their annual conference in Llangollen, fearing the technique could endanger local communities.
The proposal by Cluff Natural Resources (CNR) for the Dee estuary off Point of Ayr mirrors similar plans for the Loughor estuary near Llanelli.
Mr Gruffydd said:
“There are many concerns about UCG, including the risk of subsidence, an adverse effect on the environment and cockle beds in the estuary, an increase in carbon emissions, as well as the potential contamination of our water supply.
“There has been no clear answers to what the potential implications of UCG would be, for instance on our wildlife, property prices, tourism industry etc.
“Instead of continuing to exploit fossil fuels, we should be looking more at renewables, such as the Tidal Lagoon project in Swansea Bay which is forecast to provide energy for more than 100,000 homes as well as being worth £300 million to the Welsh economy.”
Setting fire to coal seams
The technique involves setting fire to coal seams underground to produce syngas, a combination of carbon monoxide, methane and hydrogen. In theory, this can then be collected to produce electricity.
Mr Gruffydd added:
“The risks surrounding this technology far outweigh any perceived benefits. It’s striking that all but one of the UCG sites are offshore rather than on land, perhaps because of safety concerns. This is a process that has been around for 150 years but has enjoyed little commercial use due to the risks identified. It seems parts of Wales, including Flintshire, are about to become part of a huge experiment. I don’t think the people of Mostyn, Ffynnongroyw and the surrounding areas should be guinea pigs for industry.
“These licences have been granted by a Westminster government of the elite with no understanding of our communities. The concerns surrounding UCG are yet another clear example of why control over all our energy and natural resources needs to be transferred to control in Wales. Decisions would then be taken here, in the interests of our communities.”
More about UCG for the gasification council
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