Friday, 6 September 2013

Step By Step Process of UCG Licensing From The Coal Authority.

We have contacted the Coal Authority for a clear step by step guide to UCG Licences.

We now have a clear structure to how things work, What we need to now do is follow up on each step and learn the regulations. For example in the letter below they say

 Environmental Impact Assessments will be part of the planning application  process whilst environmentalconsents and the monitoring of these will  be regulated by the Environment Agency
But this doesn't actually state who is doing the Environmental Impact Assessments, nor what the regulations are, only who regulates them. We want a guide that clear labels who is doing what. So we will follow up on questions raise and produce a very comprehensive guide.

You can view application and 
guidance notes here



Dear No UCG Warks,

I refer to your enquiry and attach the Coal Authority
s guidance notes for applicants for underground coal gasificationlicences for your information.  You should note the following :-

· All licences for underground coal gasification granted by the Coal Authority to date are conditional.

· A conditional licence allows the licensee to evaluate an underground coal gasification project in an area for an initial conditional period of normally 3-5 years (maximum 8) which can only be extended if the licensee can demonstrate substantive progress on the project.

· A licence is for underground coal gasification only which is regulated by the Coal Authority and does not involve any fracking.  A Coal Authority licence does not permit shale gas or any other conventional oil and gas extraction.

· With a conditional licence no underground coal gasification operations can take place until the licensee has satisfied the pre-conditions set out in the licence which include the acquisition of all the other necessary rights and permissions to carry out the operations.  These include planning consent; environmental permission and the consent of the Health & Safety Executive.  The licensee will also have to secure the consent of a landowner for any surface installation and satisfy the Authority that the finance is in place to carry out the operations.

· Exploration is permitted under an associated exploration licence granted by the Authority but once again this is dependent on other rights being in place. Before any exploration operations take place the licensee has to secure a supplemental exploration agreement from the Authority when site specific issues are addressed and the licensee has to demonstrate that all the other rights to sink the borehole(s) are in place.  These rights include any environmental and Health and Safety consents.

 In terms of responsibilities :-

Planning permission is the responsibility of the local planning authority.  If they refuse planning consent then an appeal can be made under planning regulations and this can result in a public inquiry held by the planning inspectorate.

The safety of any operation is regulated by the Health and Safety Executive

 Environmental Impact Assessments will be part of the planning application process whilst environmentalconsents and the monitoring of these will be regulated by the Environment Agency

The closure of wells will be addressed under the Coal Authority Licence and Lease, the planning consent and the borehole regulations of the HSE.

Site restoration will be a matter for the
 operator and the surface landowner and regulated by the planning authority.
I hope that this answers your query?

Simon Cooke

Picture (Device Independent Bitmap)
Simon Cooke
Principal Manager Licensing & Permissions

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