Coventry & Warwickshire

Warwickshire coal gas extraction plan 'shocking'

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Media captionThe company has insisted the process was safe and was unlike fracking.

The first application in Britain to extract gas from coal inland has provoked an angry response in Warwickshire.

Cluff Natural Resources wants to carry out deep underground coal gasification (UCG) in and around Bubbenhall.

The company's founder, Algy Cluff, insisted the process was safe and was unlike fracking.

But campaign group Frack-Off said there has not been enough testing and UCG has never been used on this scale.

Image caption Bubbenhall residents say UCG will "ruin their village"

UCG is usually carried out under the sea, but new technology means drilling is possible horizontally as well as vertically, allowing access to seams previously untouched.

The process involves drilling deep into the ground and setting fire to the coal and extracting the resultant gas.

Countryside 'will go'

Miranda Aston, from Marton, which is close to the proposed drilling site, said: "This is shocking news - sometimes I think some people will not rest until all of our countryside has gone."

Patricia Greensall, from High Street, Marton, said she was worried that if the project goes ahead it will devalue her property. She added: "Had we had this information we would not have bought in Marton.

"Obviously that is how most potential buyers will now think."

Anti-UCG campaigner Gareth Herd, from Rugby, said: "It will be a blot on the landscape. We need to get over our addiction to fossil fuel."

Most seams used in UCG are called "stranded" as the coal cannot be extracted by traditional mining techniques.

Mr Cluff said: "If it wasn't safe we would not be allowed to drill.

"Unlike fracking, UCG does not involve chemicals and does not fracture the underground rock."

Image caption The potential area identified for UCG runs from Bubbenhall to Long Itchington

But Fred Sharp, 58, who has lived in Bubbenhall all his life, said: "It doesn't bother me, it ain't going to do me any harm. If they've got to get gas out then that's good."

The Coal Authority said: "There have been no licences granted for UCG onshore in Britain yet.

"The application by Cluff Natural Resources is still being processed.

"The licence application is for underground coal gasification only and does not involve fracking."

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