Wirral MP calls for outright Underground Coal Gasification ban ahead of COP26

Wirral West MP Margaret Greenwood has written to Alok Sharma, the President for COP26, asking him to work with colleagues in the government to “ban Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) in the Dee Estuary and across the UK once and for all.” 

A five-year Conditional Licence for UCG in the Dee Estuary was granted by the Coal Authority under the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition Government to a company called Cluff Natural Resources in January 2013. 

At the time, Margaret Greenwood led a local campaign against UCG as residents put up posters to show their opposition to it, shared their concerns in the press and on social media and people attended rallies and signed a petition. 

The licence is no longer in place. However, the government has only so far said it is “not minded to support the development” of UCG. Margaret Greenwood is arguing that this is not at all the same as ruling it out entirely and has called for an outright ban. 

Margaret Greenwood MP said, “I was proud to lead a campaign against UCG in the Dee Estuary which would have had an extremely detrimental impact on the environment and quality of life in Wirral West.  

“It was clear then that people in Wirral West did not want to see UCG in the Dee Estuary; that remains the case today.   

“The estuary is home to the much loved Hilbre Island, as well as being a place of international importance for migrating birds and an ideal location for spotting seals and other marine life. 

“By the government’s own admission following the Atkins report in 2016, emissions from UCG would be too high to be consistent with the government’s commitment to a low-carbon future. 

“I am disappointed therefore that the government has not taken a stronger stance on UCG and banned it altogether, instead of just saying it is ‘not minded to support’ it. 

“With COP26 on the horizon, this is a critical moment for our country and our planet. I believe that as the host the UK should be leading the way in the fight against climate change. 

“The government should demonstrate its commitment to working with all countries and joining forces with civil society, companies and people on the frontline of climate change to inspire climate action ahead of COP26 by banning UCG in the Dee Estuary and across the UK once and for all.”  

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