Date lodged: 17 October 2016
To ask the Scottish Government what direction it will issue to planning authorities in light of its recently announced position on underground coal gasification.
Answered by: Paul Wheelhouse 8 November 2016
A Direction issued to all Heads of Planning from the Chief Planner on 8 October 2015 required planning applications for underground coal gasification (UCG) development received by planning authorities to be sent to Scottish Ministers. The covering letter explained that this was to ensure the Government’s position on UCG is reflected through the planning decision making process.
To ensure consistency across regulatory regimes, a similar Direction was issued by Scottish Ministers on the same date to SEPA regarding any relevant new Controlled Activity Regulation (CAR) licenses.
As the Directions are still in place, there is no requirement to make changes to them, or to the Scottish Planning Policy. As I made clear in my ministerial statement, I have also written to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Greg Clark, to request that the UK Government revoke existing licences for UCG activities, and undertake to not issue any further licences, to respect the decision of the Scottish Government that UCG should play no part in Scotland's future energy mix.