Nearly 30 organisations have written to Scottish National Party (SNP)government energy minister Fergus Ewing demanding that Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) is included in Scotland’s fracking ban.
These include the Unison union, Friends of the Earth and many local campaign groups.
Private firms already have five exploratory licences to gasify coal under the Firth of Forth, on Scotland’s east coast, and Firth of Solway, near the border with England.
UCG involves setting fire to undersea and other inaccessible coal seams, then blasting out the gas this produces in a process similar to fracking.
Opposition to fracking and other forms of unconventional gas exploration in Scotland is growing. This has led to the SNP introducing a moratorium on fracking until after the general election—campaigners demand UCG is included in that.
Scotland has some of the best resources for wind, tidal and wave power in the world.