The Public Perceptions of Underground Coal Gasification (UCG): A Pilot Study

Simon Shackley, Alexander Reiche and Sarah Mander

August 2004

Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research

Working Paper 57

The Public Perceptions of Underground Coal Gasification (UCG): A Pilot Study

Dr Simon Shackley, Alexander Reiche and Dr Sarah Mander Tyndall Centre Working Paper 57

August 2004
Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research UMIST Manchester M60 1QD Tel: 0161 306 8781 Email: simon.shackley@umist.ac.uk��

Contents ABSTRACT.............................................................................................................................................(i) EXECUTIVE SUMMARY ....................................................................................................................(ii) 1: INTRODUCTION ............................................................................................................................... 1 2: METHODOLOGY ............................................................................................................................... 3 3: POTENTIAL SITING PROBLEMS AND ISSUES SURROUNDING UCG..................................... 5 3.1. The Silverdale Case ...................................................................................................................... 5 4: FOCUS GROUP FINDINGS ............................................................................................................. 15 4.1. Perceived Advantages and Benefits of UCG ............................................................................. 15 4.2 Objections and Perceived Dangers of UCG.................................................................................. 16 4.3. Factors that might influence public perceptions such that UCG is perceived more negatively . 19 4.4. Factors that might influence public perceptions such that UCG is perceived more positively .. 20 4.5. Is there a significant difference in perceptions between on- and off-shore UCG? ..................... 22 4.6. How does UCG fit into the Low Carbon energy system envisaged in the Energy White Paper? ............................................................................................................................................................. 22 5: SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS ................................................................................................. 24 5.1. Literature Review and the Silverdale Case-Study ...................................................................... 24 REFERENCES........................................................................................................................................ 29 APPENDIX A. ......................................................................................................................................... 1 APPENDIX B. ......................................................................................................................................... 1 Please note that Tyndall Working Papers are "work in progress". Whilst they are commented on by Tyndall researchers, they have not been subject to a full peer review. The accuracy of this work and the conclusions reached are the responsibility of the author(s) alone and not the Tyndall Centre.

ABSTRACT
A pilot study was undertaken from June to November 2003 to explore potential public perceptions of Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) in the United Kingdom. The objectives were to identify the main dangers and objections, and benefits and advantages, of UCG as perceived by members of the public; and to explore what factors, if any, might change public perceptions such that UCG is perceived more or less favourably. A desk-based review of the literature on risk suggests that the local social, cultural and institutional context will have enormous influence on the manner in which the risks and benefits associated with UCG are perceived. A case study of an earlier UCG application in Silverdale (Staffordshire) was undertaken, and it was found that the familiarity of local people with the consequences and legacies of conventional coal mining amplified the perceptions of risk of affected people. As an ‘experimental’ site, fears abounded concerning potential hazards, without any apparent gains for the local economy being identified. A one day focus group was then held to discuss UCG in more detail. Most of the group had participated 3 months earlier in a 5 week long set of discussions on the capture and storage underground of carbon dioxide from fossil fuel combustion. The participants of the focus group recognized the potential of UCG as a secure source of energy for the UK in the future, provided that it is safe to humans and the environment and cost-effective. At present there is no clear benefit to the local community where a UCG trial would take place, yet there would be new potential risks to be assessed and lived with. Concerns were expressed about the possible ‘uncontrollability’ of underground combustion. It was strongly believed that carbon capture and storage (CCS), although not necessarily on site, should be associated with UCG. A preference for connecting UCG with CCS to the hydrogen economy was also expressed, particularly if the local economy and environment could benefit as a consequence. For a trial or commercial application to proceed, the group considered that UCG would have to be part of, and integrated with, wider local development initiatives aimed at creating new employment or improving quality of life. It was felt that all developers, operators and regulators need to work in an open, transparent and consultative mode, providing clear and accurate information. Local inhabitants and stakeholders should, the group felt, be provided with the opportunity to cross-examine the information underlying licences. It was suggested that the technology of UCG should be mastered in a remote site, preferably on land, before applying it in coal seams close to populated area.

(i)

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
One of the uncertainties affecting the potential use of Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) is the potential for public opposition to emerge. A proposed trial project in Silverdale, close to Stoke-onTrent, elicited negative public reactions and was subsequently abandoned. This is despite the fact that the actual proposal related only to the initial drilling stages. The public reaction at Silverdale was exasperated by local issues about the closure of the mine. The application was withdrawn when the powers of the Coal Authority to undertake UCG were challenged. The work was subsequently transferred to the Cleaner Fossil Fuels Programme of the DTI. Public opposition to UCG may arise for a number of reasons, including fears and concerns about: the safety of UCG, the long-term security of UCG sites, visual intrusion on the landscape, lack of perceived ‘need’ for UCG, and other Not in My Back Yard (NIMBY) type reactions. There is an extensive literature on the problems of siting potentially hazardous facilities and projects, and on the disposal of hazardous substances, in particular in relation to the chemical, nuclear, energy and waste sectors. This literature, along with the Silverdale case-study, provides important clues as to the likely issues which will arise regarding public perceptions of UCG. While much of UCG is similar to other energy and chemical sector processes, the concept of gasifying coal underground in situ is somewhat different. Furthermore, it can be related to: a) the low-carbon energy agenda, through linking UCG with carbon capture and storage (CCS); b) the energy security agenda. Silverdale, as a one-off proposal, is not representative of other potential applications. We decided therefore to explore public perceptions in an open fashion through holding a one-day focus group involving 10 members of the public, 6 of whom had previously been involved in an extended group discussion of climate change and carbon capture and storage. The 10 members of the group were all male, between the ages of 20 and 50, and in socio-economic groups A and B1, with a further 2 university students. The views and perspectives provided below refer to those expressed by the group, though in some cases consensus did not emerge and different viewpoints were expressed. We have indicated where this is the case. All of the focus group participants recognised the potential of UCG as a secure source of energy for the UK in the years to come, so long as it is safe to human health and the environment and cost effective. It was recognised that there could also be net economic benefits to be reaped if the UK comes to acquire a technical mastery of the process and can export the technology overseas. However, there were also substantial concerns regarding UCG. All of the group members agreed that in its present state any UCG trial site or commercial site situated nearby a local community seems to provide no advantages to the locale but puts the inhabitants at potential risk of industrial hazards. Many communities would feel like a ‘guinea pig’ if it were to accept being part of a trial. It was therefore concluded that future trial tests should be conducted in more remote areas. This finding reflects very closely the findings of the literature on siting of potentially hazardous sites, and the experience of the Silverdale case. A major problem with UCG is that the public would probably perceive it as a high-risk system that has the potential for deleterious effects in terms of health and safety to the local community. There is a general feeling in the focus group that fire hazards and explosions could easily occur and that there is potential for environmental degradation. The high level of concern arises from the perceived lack of control of a combustion process occurring underground and from the perception of a high level of uncertainty concerning the potential hazards. Operators, authorities and governmental regulatory bodies

(ii)

are faced with the challenge of providing evidence of the risks, as well as constructing a due process for making decisions, that will help to build trust in the technology with local communities. With regard to its environmental performance, UCG was criticised in that it is still burning fossil fuel, which does not seem in accordance with low-carbon energy systems. Although a feasible option would be to capture the CO2 and store it underground (not necessarily close to the UCG extraction site) this still presents the problem for some of the focus group participants of linking together two controversial, not fully tested and potentially dangerous technologies. Overall, it was felt by this group that UCG should only be considered in combination with carbon capture & storage (CCS). Several participants of the focus group favoured further development of UCG until it is a ready-to-use technology, but that it should only be implemented on a large scale if other energy supplies fail; i.e. UCG should be viewed (according to these members of the group) primarily as a potential back-stop technology. UCG was still viewed by most members of the group as a good energy safety net for the UK and several suggestions were made as to how to improve its public perception and integrate it more closely within a sustainable energy programme. First of all one must overcome the public’s lack of confidence towards developers, operators and regulators. The main mechanism suggested to achieve this was through greater transparency of operations and clear information regarding the day-to-day processes, safety measures and environmental impacts of the UCG plant. This could be done through: Creating an information/community centre where people can easily inform themselves and ask questions. Up-to-date information on operations and plans would be made available. This could be complemented by occasional public events by regulatory and operational bodies and open days where the public could access the plant. Providing a budget to the local community so they can employ independent reviewers and experts in order to cross-examine all data and ensure good practice and conduct of operations. In this way, the local community would have greater confidence in the regulatory process and underlying data thus improving mutual trust. Getting the media to advertise such collaborative schemes and to provide a publication avenue for information and developments. Providing a written statement regarding the responsibilities, duties and liabilities to be undertaken by each responsible party in the event of an incident.

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Secondly, UCG should be presented to the community within a package of improvement measures such as: - Combining UCG with other, more labour intensive industrial developments as part of an employment initiative, or else with local regeneration schemes. This might involve energy sector developments, such as a UCG Technology Centre or development of local industry based on UCG gas for heating and chemical production. - Producing hydrogen from the product gas, which could be used to kick-start a local hydrogen economy scheme such as providing the fuel for town buses. This could then provide environmental benefits as well as helping the area become a pioneer of hydrogen technology and infrastructure.

(iii)

This project was a pilot stage investigation, which made use of an existing group that had prior knowledge of, and discussions about, climate change and of carbon capture and storage. This is likely to have influenced the perceptions of the group regarding the role of UCG in the UK’s energy system. Furthermore, the composition of the group was not at all representative of the British public. Further research could involve holding more focus groups with a wider cross-section of the public in terms of: gender, socio-economic group (occupation), age, place of residence, psychographic profile, etc. A further activity might involve conducting face-to-face surveys with a larger sample of the public. If a specific proposal for a UCG demonstration site is being considered, a ‘citizen panel’ consisting of a cross-section of the public in the locale might be constituted in order to provide advice on how a proposal should be developed. The local public and stakeholder reaction should be part of site selection process, along side the more tangible issues such as coal geology, hydrogeology and other planning issues. Other possibilities for the future could include: development of a professional communication strategy, before any trial site is selected, setting up of an information web site, and the production of other suitable publications.

(iv)

(v)

1: INTRODUCTION
Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) is a potential source of future energy production that is currently receiving an increased level of attention within business, academic and policy communities. The underlying principle of UCG is to access coal which either lies too deep underground, or is economically unattractive to exploit for conventional mining methods. It involves the injection of steam and air or oxygen into an underground seam of coal which is ignited, and reacts in the presence of the injected gases to form a combustible gas that can be used either as a fuel or as a chemical feedstock. The input gases are introduced through a well known as the injection well. The gas produced is removed via a separate well, known as the production well. The product gas requires cleaning once it has reached the surface, either to meet the requirements for input into a gas turbine, or to be of sufficient purity for use as a chemical feedstock for conversion to synthetic fuels. Additionally, the gas can be processed to remove its CO2 content before it is passed on to end users and the captured CO2 can then be stored, thereby contributing to climate change mitigation. This report presents a preliminary investigation of possible public reactions to the technologies under consideration through a desk-based literature review, analysis of the Silverdale case and through a one-day focus group discussion.

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2: METHODOLOGY
A focus group type methodology was used to understand why certain viewpoints are entertained (Burgess, et al., 1988, Harrison et al., 1996, Greenbaun, 1998, Krueger, 1998). A group discussion also allows individuals to interact and respond to one another – this is a useful feature when a new issue is being discussed because it stimulates mutual and creative information sharing, exploration and analysis. Focus groups are a well-established research approach in the qualitative social sciences and we refer the reader to the above references for more critical information. Our focus group is not intended to be ‘representative’ of the public, but rather to reflect the opinions and views amongst a group of defined participants in a particular time and place. What is lost in representativeness is, however, gained in the richness and depth with which perceptions can be explored and understood. Clearly, the results of our group must be treated as tentative findings and could be extended through a more extensive programme of research. The focus group was held in York on 21st June 2003 and was composed of ten individuals, all of whom were male and mostly in their late-20s to mid-40s. The participants were made up of 6 individuals who have participated in a prior 5 week Citizen Panel on the topic of carbon capture and storage for the Tyndall Centre (Shackley, McLachlan and Gough 2003). Unfortunately, not all the members of that group could attend the one-day session on UCG, so we recruited 4 further individuals. They were selected ‘opportunistically’ through personal contacts. However, this is not felt to detract from the value of the findings since we chose individuals who fitted broadly into the age and occupational profile of the original group. Each additional member of the group was briefed before hand on global climate change, the challenge of reducing CO2 emissions and basic details surrounding carbon capture and storage. This meant that the new members of the group had some background knowledge of the topics that had been discussed during the course of the 5 weekly sessions of the Citizens Panel. Each participant was also sent an information package on UCG prior to the meeting (available from The Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research) in order to provide useful reference points for the discussion that took place on 21st June 2003. The programme is shown in appendix A. The focus group began with an initial round table views and perceptions of UCG. An expert witness (Dr Michael Green) then gave a comprehensive presentation of the nature, potential and limitations of UCG, with reference to several case studies. This was followed up with a brief presentation by one of the coordinators (Alexander Reiche) on the moral issues surrounding UCG and provided a starting point for the discussion. The group then moved on to debate whether or not this would be an acceptable technology in social and environmental terms, alongside exploring the ethical and moral issues that might arise and what objections might occur. The following questions were used to frame the discussion:

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The Main Questions used to Frame the Discussions in the Focus Group
(i) (ii) (iii) (iv) (v) (vi) What are the main dangers and objections to UCG as perceived by members of the public? What are the main benefits and advantages of UCG as perceived by members of the public? What factors, if any, might change public perceptions such that UCG is perceived more favourably? What factors, if any, might change public perceptions such that UCG is perceived less favourably? Is there a significant difference in perceptions between on- and off-shore UCG? How does UCG fit into a sustainable low-carbon energy system as envisaged in the Energy White Paper?

The focus group was highly productive in terms of the range of issues raised by the participants and the resulting discussion that emerged from these observations. The debate was spontaneous and lively, requiring little prompting from the moderator beyond ensuring that it remained relevant to the topic and broadly followed the predetermined list of issues above-mentioned. The proceedings of the focus group were taped using a Marantz professional tape recorder and fully transcribed. We have used quotes from the focus group in chapter 4 in order to show how the ideas and perceptions were expressed within the group. The names next to the quotes have been changed to protect the respondent’s identity. Certain features should be born in mind when considering the results presented here. The group met only once and, given the fact that none were familiar with UCG, it is likely that new issues were thought of after the meeting had concluded, or that positions and viewpoints expressed within the group might change after a period of reflection. Some questions that were raised during the discussion could only be answered after the group meeting due to the further research they required. The answers to these questions were forwarded to the participants a few weeks later and may have provoked subsequent changes in viewpoints and opinions. A copy of the answers to the questions raised by the group on the 21/6/03 can be found in appendix B of this paper.

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3: POTENTIAL SITING PROBLEMS AND ISSUES SURROUNDING UCG
The controversy surrounding the application for the siting of UCG test site in Silverdale, Staffordshire, provides a useful insight into the issues that may arise from the location of UCG schemes. This section will begin with an outline of the Silverdale application and outline the issues of concern to local people. The analysis will then consider the specific issues arising from this controversy in the light of the wider literature surrounding the siting of hazardous facilities. 3.1. The Silverdale Case The village of Silverdale, and its surroundings, has been subject to coal mining activities for some 200 years. In 1998, the last remaining Silverdale colliery was closed for coal extraction with the loss of some 330 jobs. At the time of the closure, the company running the mine, Midland Mining, stated that the mine was no longer viable since severe geological faulting had wiped out most of the high quality coal seams. Following closure of the mine, some restoration work on the site began in 1999 with the removal of scrap surface equipment. The whole area was intended for redevelopment under a plan known as the ‘Silverdale Vision’. The former colliery site was to be re-developed, with industrial units to attract business to the area, along with land remediation and landscaping to build a leisure resource for local people. The site was under the control of the Coal Authority, the government body charged with the monitoring and cleanup of former coal mining sites. Initial discussions with the local authority concerning the potential application for UCG related activity in Silverdale, began a year after the Silverdale mine was closed. At this time, mining related activities still occurred at the site. Coal mine water was pumped from the abandoned mine in order to prevent rising flood waters contaminating surface waters. In addition, the former colliery operators, Midland Mining extracted methane from the Silverdale mines for use in power generation. The initial application lodged with Staffordshire County Council by the Coal Authority, in June 2000, was for the drilling and exploration phase of the trial only. If these activities were successful, a further application for UCG at the site was to be made. The Silverdale coal seams were between 600m and 1130 m underground, and at the correct angle for drilling, and were located well away from the previous mining areas. It is not clear from the application what other criteria were used in order to select the site for the trial. The objective of the initial part of the trial for which planning permission was being sought was to sink three bore holes to the required depth and drill between these. The horizontal drilling distance was in the order of 300m, considerably greater than the successful UGE trial in Spain. In order to provide lea way, should problems be encountered with the drilling causing the abandonment of a particular test shaft, permission for up to six bore holes was applied for by the Coal Authority. In the light of the experimental nature of the work, the location of only three potential shafts was given in the application, since the positioning of others was unknown at the time and would depend on the nature of the problems encountered. During the drilling phase of the project, work was to take pace 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This phase was projected to last between 22 weeks and 38 weeks, allowing for time delays. In addition to the drilling work, the project intended to explore the geology of the coal seam and to characterize the coal chemistry.

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Given that the application was solely for the drilling phase of the project, the Environmental Statement concentrated on the likely impacts of the drilling, and did not consider the impacts of the possible extension to include UCG or carbon sequestration. The impacts that were judged significant, in the scoping study, by the Coal Authority are shown below: Noise, this was judged to be a problem due to the location of the bore holes and noise modelling was submitted in the application. The presence of screening trees, and sound barriers were proposed as mitigation measures. Visual impact, the drilling equipment was some 30 m high. Contamination of ground water, at this stage of the project, only contamination as a consequence of the drilling was included. The technical characteristics of this process were considered to reduce this risk. Contamination of surface waters from drilling fluids. This risk could be reduced through the maintenance of good working practices. In addition to consultations with the local authority, the Coal Authority mounted a public display in the local library. This display was manned, at certain times, by Coal Authority staff. Copies of the application and the environmental statement were on display in the local Silverdale shop, to enable easy access by local residents. Given the contentious nature of the application, Staffordshire County Council wrote to 2100 households to inform them about the scheme and to seek comments. The Coal Authority suggested that the former colliery site liaison committee was re-convened, a move that was welcomed by the Local Authority. Representatives of local people, along with local councilors, were nominated to the committee. None of the efforts made by the Coal Authority to inform and consult with local people concerning the development successfully allayed their fears and concerns, and the local authority received some 80 letters of objection, few letters of support and a petition against the scheme with 3000 signatures on it. Silverdale Parish Council mounted a campaign against the scheme, and the overall campaign was coordinated by a local councillor. The information published by the Parish Council claimed that Silverdale has a high incidence of cancer, a high incidence of infant mortality and is an area of poor health. Although the leaflet does not equate these figures to a baseline, further research has shown that Silverdale has the highest rate of male deaths from lung cancer and stomach cancer in the borough with figures well above the national average. The poor health of people in the area is similarly backed up with information from other sources. These health problems are likely to be directly attributable to the history of mining and industry in the area. The issues for concern raised by the parish council concerning the Coal Authority application are shown below and the community was urged to write and object to the scheme or at the very least sign a petition. Pollution of water table by UCG Explosion hazards (from UCG) Commercial activity on the site of the former colliery for the gain and profit of others. Noise and air pollution. As can be seen from the above list, some of the issues raised by the Parish Council did not relate to the actual application for drilling at the site, but rather were concerns arising from the future potential for

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UCG at the site. This same pattern is continued in the letters of objection from local people, as highlighted in the table below. Table 1. Issues of concern raised by local people Drilling issues Noise UCG issues General issues Fear of uncontrollable coal Fear of coal catching fire burn underground and burning uncontrollably, the area has a history of ‘Sponcon’ and this issue was high in the awareness of local people Waste from the UCG The area is considered to be contaminating aquifers. In cleaner and ‘better’ since particular coal tars which the colliery had closed. are believed to cause cancer Dust and air pollution were highlighted as two areas where great improvement had occurred. Danger from underground The experimental nature of explosions the work was questioned, with people not wishing for a scheme to go ahead when some of their questions could not be answered. A residential area was not seen as suitable for research with many unknowns. Gaseous emissions from Regeneration of the local UCG could rise to the area would be delayed and surface firms would be ‘put off’ from locating near the site. Subsidence, the area has a The scheme did not bring history of subsidence any benefit to Silverdale The value of local property would be reduced.

Visual impact of the drilling rigs

Increased traffic, one resident estimated the number of vehicle movements at 700 HGV movements over the course of the project.

The contentious nature of the scheme was very apparent to the Local Authority who sought to deal with the scheme in a careful manner. They recognised that many of the objections coming forward arose from a fear of the unknown and a lack of understanding of the proposals and the impacts. This led them to employ the BGS as independent consultants on the scheme to advise them and help formulate the response to the Coal Authority. On their advice, further information was sought from the Coal Authority over the accuracy of the noise assessments and assessments of ground water contamination. More specifically, the period of measurement was not considered long enough or to be at the quietest time of the night for the baseline noise readings. In the case of groundwater, monitoring for a period of 7

time before the project began was deemed necessary, once again to provide an accurate baseline assessment. Further concerns expressed by the council were for the health implications of the trials, and a lack of explanation as to why Silverdale had been selected. One local resident had provided the council with information of health risks from coking ovens, essentially gasification above ground, hence new concerns were raised as to whether the toxic by products of gasification would stay below ground should this part of the trial occur. Ultimately, Staffordshire County Council did not have to decide whether to accept or reject the application as the Coal Authority withdrew it in September 2000, before going to committee. In a letter to the Chief Planning Officer, the representative of the Coal Authority explained that they felt there was no point in continuing with the application; given the level of public outcry they felt that the application would have been rejected. A recent meeting of the planning committee of Newcastleunder-Lyme authority had refused to support the application, local residents had demonstrated outside this meeting. The Coal Authority accepted that many of the objections to the scheme were due to the UCG part of the trial, but could not see how they would be able to turn around public perceptions. Whilst important in their decision to withdraw, the public outcry was not the only reason for the U turn by the Coal Authority, a further legal challenge had emerged as to whether this form of research and development was allowable under the remit of the organisation. The Coal Authority was established by Parliament in 1994 to undertake specific statutory responsibilities associated with: licensing coal mining operations in Britain handling subsidence damage claims which are not the responsibility of licensed coalmine operators dealing with property and historic liability issues, such as treatment of minewater discharges providing public access to information on past and present coal mining operations The issue of research and development is not covered by the statutory responsibilities outlined above, and it was decided that the Authority could not engage in research activities. For this reason, the Clean Coal Program moved to the control of the DTI. Analysis of the Literature on Siting of Potentially Hazardous Facilities As the range of the concerns of local people shown in the table above reveals, responses to risk are complex and the context in which the assessment is being made is central to the manner in which risk perceptions are shaped. Analysis of the literature concerning attitudes to risk and the siting of contentious or potentially hazardous facilities highlights six major factors affecting the reaction of local people to those facilities, (see for example Simmons and Walker, 1999; Rogers, 1998; Kasperson et al, 1992). These are listed below, and each shall be discussed in turn. • • • • • • A pragmatic assessment of the consequences of a scheme and the probability of these occurring. Factors which influence the acceptability of the technology, such as local benefits or participation. Equity. Communication Trust. Local temporal and geographical context. 8

Assessment of consequences In any planning application, in deciding whether to oppose a scheme or not, local people will make an assessment of the direct impacts that the scheme will have on them and their locality. Such impacts may arise as a consequence of noise, traffic and visual impact for example. In the Silverdale case study, these impacts were considered by the Coal Authority to be likely to occur as a result of the drilling operations and an assessment of these was made as part of the environmental statement. Whilst the application was being made for a temporary experimental site, some local people judged these impacts to be significant, and objected to the scheme on this basis. Although the local authority requested additional information related to the assessment of the noise impacts from the site, the temporary nature of the application may have given these impacts less weight in the final assessment. In the case of a commercial UCG venture, these direct impacts on local people will be greater, by virtue both of the greater physical size of the facility and the length of time it will be in operation. Whilst assessment of such impacts are to a degree subjective, techniques are available by which their magnitude can be evaluated and those affected by a facility in this way will have information available on which to base their decisions. Separate to the direct impacts outlined above, industrial facilities are likely to have a series of more unknown and uncertain ‘risk’ factors associated with them. Examples of such facilities would include waste disposal sites, incinerators, chemical facilities, nuclear facilities and so on. These may result in either damage to the environment, or present a hazard to local people and for this reason they are considered ‘unwanted land uses’. There is a wide body of literature that deals with the assessment of the risks from, and siting problems associated with, such facilities, (see for example Fischhoff, 1995; Slovic, 2001). Given that many of the objections to the Silverdale UCG test site were on the basis of the hazard presented by the UCG part of the operation, and not on the basis of the drilling application, any commercial UCG site will have to address these issues of risk and its assessment by affected people. The risks arising from UCG highlighted by local people have been outlined above in table 1. To recap these can be summarised as follows: The danger of uncontrollable coal burn underground; Waste from the UCG contaminating aquifers. In particular coal tars which are believed to cause cancer; The risk from underground explosions; Gaseous emissions from UCG rising to the surface; Subsidence. Given that the Coal Authority application was not for the UCG phase of the project, none of the above issues were addressed within the documentation; hence there was little information available for local people with respect to this project concerning the dangers they perceived to be presented by UCG. Information concerning other UCG projects is available through the DTI and over the internet, though this is fairly limited, due to the relatively new nature of the technology. Whilst both the Australian Chinchilla project and the UGE project in Spain report no adverse environmental impacts, the converse 9

is true of the early US trials in the Rocky Mountains, some sites for which are still subject to clean up operations as a consequence of ground water contamination. Similarly, a number of former conventional coal gasification sites in the US are known to have caused contamination of local ground water with substances including benzene, toluene, xylene, lead, trans-1,2-dichloroethylene, and polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbon compounds, among them naphthalene, fluoranthene, and pyrene. These sites are subject to clean up under the US ‘Superfund’ program. Coal tar by-products of gasification have been shown to cause cancers of the lungs, bladder and scrotum of workers exposed to these substances (ICRA, 1987). Documentation of the environmental and health risks associated with the gasification process is readily accessible. When assessing the consequences of the Coal Authority application, local people in Silverdale looked beyond the actual drilling operation, in many cases focusing on the risk from UCG itself. In the absence of readily available information or formal risk communication from the Coal Authority, other sources of information were sought. The assessment of the risks was likely to have been exacerbated by the fear of the unknown, and the experimental nature of the project; research shows that risks feared the most by the lay public are those that present unknowable, and individually uncontrollable impacts (Rogers, 1998). In such instances, judgements concerning the unknown are likely to be made by reference to local memory, past accidents and events that are familiar (Irwin et al, 1999). References to past analogies are particularly important in this case, given the long history of coal mining in the area, and shall be returned to later. Overall when the risk offered by a facility is considered too great by those affected, plans for that facility are likely to be opposed (Rogers, 1998) with the technology being judged unacceptable. The proposer of such a scheme has to be able to provide answers to people addressing their concerns. In the light of the limited initial application, which only mentioned the potential for UCG at the site without exploring it further, and the acknowledged experimental nature of the project, it is unsurprising that the Coal Authority decided that they would be unable to counter the perceptions of local people. Of particular concern to local people, was the prospect of an underground experiment taking place beneath their homes, with a site so close to local people not deemed a suitable location for experimental work. The notion of an ‘experimental’ trial is likely to imply for the lay public a greater level of uncertainty concerning risks and potential for ‘things to go wrong’ than would be the case for a ‘routine’ application. Any future applications for UCG sites will have to ensure that the dangers presented by the site are addressed, with the proximity to habitation likely to prove crucial. Given that no commercial UCG venture in the UK will come forward until further experimental work and trials have taken place, more specific information addressing the issue of risk under UK conditions will need to be available to address such concerns. If the safety and danger aspects of UCG are addressed thoroughly, it is more likely that the technology will be judged to be acceptable by affected people. Factors that influence the extent of this acceptability will now be discussed. Influencing factors In a situation where affected people have judged that a facility or project is not inherently too risky, the level of tolerance will be influenced by a number of other factors, (Simmons and Walker, 1999; Rogers, 1998; Kunruether and Easterling, 1996). Typical factors are outlined below:

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Local economic benefits in terms of local jobs or locally let contracts Compensation Participation of affected people in site planning and liaison Extent of safety controls and monitoring In the Silverdale case, the small scale and experimental nature of the site was unlikely to result in local jobs or economic benefit given that all the expertise was likely to come from outside the area. In other UCG cases, such as UGE and in the US, the remoteness of the test sites meant that the presence of the experimental teams was itself a contributor to the local economy. In Silverdale local people considered that the site would act as a disincentive to other firms seeking to relocate in the area, and that local house prices would be depressed. Since the site was never to be developed commercially, and any coal gas produced was to be vented, no local benefit either in terms of jobs, or locally generated electricity would result from the scheme. Overall, a full scale UCG plant would result in some local employment and make a contribution to the local economy. Such factors are likely to make a scheme more acceptable, particularly amongst local politicians (Lofstedt,1997; Rogers, 1998). Community compensation is widely discussed within the literature on the siting of facilities as an important factor in persuading local communities to accept developments regarded as undesirable (see for example Kunreuther and Easterling, 1996; Rogers, 1998). Developers of a wide range of schemes may make donations to local funds, provide low energy light bulbs and use a variety of other methods to compensate the community. Taking examples from wind energy schemes, Baywind Co-operative pays 0.5% of its profits into a fund for local energy efficiency (Earthed 2002) and National Wind Power has established a ‘Good Neighbour’ scheme for all its wind energy developments. Whilst such compensation methods are common to many forms of development, care must be taken to avoid accusations of bribery as these may have negative repercussions in how the scheme is perceived. Some researchers favour more direct compensation for local people (Quah and Tan, 1998) with methods of direct compensation including those living close to electricity generation schemes benefiting from cheaper electricity or receiving free shares in schemes that contain an element of community ownership. This form of compensation is only likely to be acceptable in circumstances where the environmental risks involved in a development are low (Miranda et al, 2000; Kunreuther and Easterling, 1996). In general, the participation of local people within the planning and development of safety strategies is likely to prove both cheaper, and more successful in increasing the acceptability of a facility amongst local people, than direct compensation (Rogers, 1998; Walker et al, 1999). Public participation through such forums as ‘public liaison committees’ or ‘citizen advisory panels’ are an increasingly common feature of the management of hazardous facilities, and are acknowledged as a useful mechanism for reducing tensions where there are environmental problems involving risk (Lynn and Busenberg, 1995). Through such mechanisms, there is likely to be a more open and transparent flow of information between an operating company and their local neighbours. This is likely to have a number of positive benefits in terms of addressing the concerns of local people and increasing trust in the management of the facility (Rogers, 1998). When Silverdale was an operating colliery, there was a site liaison group, consisting of management, local officers and members of the local community. As part of the application for the UCG work to be conducted, the Coal Authority suggested to the local authority that this liaison committee be reinstated 11

to improve the communication with the local community. This move was welcomed by the local authority, and members were nominated to the committee. Such a mechanism for liaison would be a desirable feature of the management plans of a commercial UCG venture. Communication Communication within planning applications and scheme development occurs at a number of different levels with each player attempting to influence the outcome of a process through the dissemination of knowledge. In the past, the location of facilities within communities has often been typified by a hierarchical pattern of communication, with local people merely informed about a decision and the reasons behind it. As has been often remarked, this is likely to generate only distrust, (see for example Kasperson et al, 1992; Petts and Leah, 2001). Proper communication with local people is important both in terms of increasing confidence in the safe management of a facility, and in increasing the level of knowledge concerning the risks associated with a site. In many cases, informal communication concerning the impact of a site occurs everyday between local people as they chat and share gossip. This form of communication will be discussed first since it often contributes more to the overall local assessment of risk than more formal techniques employed by developers, (Walker et al, 1999) Informal communication has been shown to be based around a wide variety of knowledge and gathered from a diversity of resources including first hand experiences such as smell, dust, smoke as well as from friends and the local media. This form of risk communication cannot be separated from the local context in which it occurs. Where local people oppose a particular scheme, they are often able to tap into established social networks built around a sense of local identity. They are often adept at mobilising support using local media, such as newspapers, which identify with the sense of place felt by the community they serve and are considered trustworthy (Kasperson et al, 1992). In the case of the Silverdale application, the local campaign was organised by a local parish councillor, with the "Staffordshire Sentinel" an important communication tool for the campaign. For more formal mechanisms of risk communication to be effective, it is important that the public perceptions of risk are uncovered and the strategy is framed in order to address these. Prior to an application for consent for an UCG facility, the adoption of a formal risk communication strategy may be a useful mechanism for informing local people and key local councillors as to the nature of the risks, and addressing their concerns. The following case of a siting strategy for two tyre incinerators (from Lofstedt, 1997) illustrates the advantages of such an approach. Elm Energy sought permission to build two waste tyre incinerators, one in Wolverhampton and the other in Guildford. Two different approaches to the siting strategy were taken: In Wolverhampton, a risk communication strategy was utilised whereby local people were sent detailed outlines of the proposed safety measures and monitoring regime. There was a road show explaining about the proposal and assessing the concerns of local people and a site committee was proposed whereby the public and local authority would have access to all monitoring data. Whilst other factors such as absence of local NGO’s and the support of the local authority were important in the acceptance of the proposal, the strategy of dialogue is likely to have played an important part in the success of the application.

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In Guildford, there was a less coherent siting strategy, with no direct communication with local people and no information road show; Elm Energy did not attempt to engage directly with the public or NGO’s as they had done in Wolverhampton. This scheme was rejected. Proper communication, based around a coherent assessment of the issues of importance to local people is likely to increase the acceptability of an UCG application. Such a strategy will not only allow the correct issues to be addressed, but also increases trust in the plant proposers or managers. Trust The scandal surrounding the collapse of Enron, along with other controversies such as the disposal at sea of the Brent Spar, (Lofstedt and Renn, 1997), illustrate well the distrust with which much of the public routinely view large corporations. Distrust of Government and big business is also revealed in the field of information dissemination on issues such as waste management, (Petts, 1998). Trust between the various parties is important both in the facilitation of effective communication, (Slovic, 1993) and also to generate confidence in the process outcome (Groothuis and Miller, 1997). Jackson and Lofstedt (1998) believe that a lack of trust towards the developer of a plant is one of the main reasons for public hostility to the siting and building of renewable energy plants. Meaningful and effective public participation is vital to generate trust between developers, the local authority and the public (Walker, 1995). This has to continue after schemes have been developed to ensure that any problems are rectified. Open general access to safety and monitoring data; along with a public liaison committee are two mechanisms through which this can be achieved. Similarly, decision criteria have to be seen to respond to the values and concerns of affected people and not only reflect the potentially narrower tenets of a commercial developer. Equity Research in the field of risk has shown that the public perception of fairness and equity can play a role in determining whether or not a facility gains planning permission, (see for example Kunreuther at al, 1993; Renn et al 1995). In the case of the Silverdale application, the negative impacts, such as visual intrusion and noise, were local. Local economic benefit would not result from the project, in fact the converse was considered true, and the benefits of the research in terms of a commercial scheme would be seen elsewhere. Research into the siting of hazardous facilities has shown that dialogue between parties is facilitated if it can be demonstrated that the burden will be shared over time, (Kasperson et al, 1992). Local people in Silverdale were of the view that they had suffered the consequences of coal mining for many years and that the area had ‘improved’ since the mining had ceased. The view expressed in letters of objection was that Silverdale had ‘done its bit’ and that it was someone else’s turn. Issues of equity tie in with the final point for discussion, namely that decisions concerning risk are framed and influenced by the local contexts in which they are being made.

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Local temporal and geographical context Mining activities had been taking place in Silverdale and the surrounding areas for several hundred years. The impact that mining has had on the locality and the improvement that ceasing of mining activities was perceived to have had on the area were key factors in the hostile response of local people to the Coal Authority proposals. This case study illustrates well the importance that local context has on public perceptions of risk. Silverdale has been left with a legacy of environmental damage and health impacts as a consequence of mining in the area. These include: Subsidence Incidents of ‘spon con’ where pockets of coal ignite underground Methane rising into the cellars of local properties Increased risk of flooding due to rising mine waters once coal production had ceased. High instances of lung and stomach cancer amongst those who had worked at the site As discussed previously, in the absence of specific information concerning the impacts of a hazardous facility, affected people will base their assessment of the risk arising from that site on their own experiences, or knowledge of other risks. In this case, the negative legacy of coal mining raised levels of concern hence the Coal Authority application was not evaluated on the basis of the direct impacts of drilling, but rather on the potential hazards of UCG. The fact that coal mining has ceased in the area, and many of the everyday nuisance and health impacts resulting from dust and air pollution were a thing of the past, also served to increase public opposition to the proposal. Local memory linked back to what the area had been like, with local people unwilling to tolerate what they perceived as a change for the worse. In reality, many did not evaluate the proposal as a new and potentially cleaner method for extracting coal, a point accepted by both the Coal Authority and the local authority. Research into incidents at hazardous facilities shows that perception of risk and trust are largely a function of the length of time since the most recent incident, hence local conditions will change over time.

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4: FOCUS GROUP FINDINGS
4.1. Perceived Advantages and Benefits of UCG All of the participants recognised the potential of UCG as a secure source of energy for the UK in the future, so long as it is safe to the environment and human health and cost effective. Further trials were deemed to be necessary in order to determine the economics and environmental impacts of UCG. Indeed all members of the group expressed an interest in consulting the results from the DTI’s review of the environmental impact assessment and the economic costings model that is currently being undertaken before formulating their final opinions on UCG. It was also recognised that if UCG meets suitable technical, safety, economic and environmental criteria, it could also provide an economic advantage if the UK comes to master the technology in such a way that it can then export it to other countries wishing to embark on a UCG development programme. The participants were sensitive to the net economic benefits that UCG could bring through exports, in addition to the potential for reduction in CO2 emissions elsewhere in the world. It was stressed by the group members that such export opportunities should only be pursued if the UCG technology can be combined with CO2 carbon capture & storage (CCS) technology abroad. However, during the subsequent discussion it was recognized that an export industry in the UK was an unlikely scenario unless major technological breakthroughs are achieved and patented and/or near impossible to copy. China was discussed as an example of a country interested in, and actively researching UCG but which is not considering CCS. It was suggested that if the UK obtains a technical superiority over the UCG process it could then use this advantage as a pressure mechanism to ensure that overseas UCG operations be as environmentally sustainable as possible. In other words it was discussed whether the UK could help China with UCG development and promote the use of carbon capture & storage if China is to continue receiving help from the UK.1 Additionally, although most members of the focus group perceived UCG as a new technology, some members saw it as an existing technology merely used in a different context. This was felt to be reassuring because it appears easier to assess and control existing technologies and leaves less room for uncertainties and potential hazards. Similarly, some concerns seem to be alleviated by the fact that UCG can partly fit into the existing energy supply infrastructure. This is because current gas/electricity power stations can function on UCG gas, rather than requiring the construction of bespoke power generation plants. Charles: The more a new system can fit into an existing infrastructure, the more acceptable it will be to the public.

In the light of the potential problem of future energy security, UCG is viewed as a serious option to be considered. Indeed, the group widely accepted that UCG could potentially benefit the UK in terms of
1

Information provided after the group suggests that Chinese firms would be able to find ways around the technical barriers of UCG and by-pass UK aid thus avoiding compliance to the same level of environmental performance.

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cutting the costs of importing energy from distant areas of the globe and avoid UK power supply being subject to foreign political or economic risks and fluctuations. Charles It will cut the costs and resources involved in shipping vast quantities of oil across the globe.

4.2 Objections and Perceived Dangers of UCG Lack of Local Benefits from UCG Trials Having reviewed several case studies, such as Teruel in Spain and Silverdale in the UK, the group concluded that, at present, UCG trial programmes offer little, if any, benefits for the local inhabitants. One member of the group viewed UCG in its wider context, which seems to reduce the importance of direct local benefits. Jacques It is UK based so it will help with issues of jobs being exported [generated], even if it doesn’t create massive employment opportunity in the next village.

Nevertheless, there was a general feeling amongst group members that during its trial phases, UCG operations should not be situated nearby a local community, specifically because it apparently provides no advantage to the commune but puts the inhabitants at a potential risk from environmental, health and safety impacts. If local benefits from UCG could be identified, the potential risks may become more acceptable to some parts of the community. Suggestions on how this may be achieved are provided later on. One member of the group summarised the general feeling as follows: Steve Any local community would feel a bit like a guinea pig if it was to accept being part of a trial and it would be very hard to convince them that it’s OK.

This is a crucial consideration that was absent when selecting Silverdale as a test trial site. Ian Silverdale was chosen purely because of the seam itself without great consideration being paid to getting it right with the locals.

The issue that future trial tests should be conducted in more remote areas appears to have been well addressed since the criteria for future site selection in the UK now include ‘distance from inhabited areas’. Environmental, Health and Safety Risks The participants were keen to evaluate the overall level of safety that CCS displays. It was generally perceived that there were many possibilities for ‘something to go wrong’. The explosion that terminated the Spanish trial and the water contamination in the USA were used here to demonstrate some of the risks and hazards associated with the technology. Although the explosion underground in Spain did not have any adverse effects on the surface, the expert speaker subsequently informed the 16

group that underground destruction of the boreholes or the engineering equipment is highly undesirable and should be avoided at all costs. An underground explosion could damage the integrity of the borehole liners and lead to the spread of gases and pollutants into the adjacent strata. Furthermore, if an explosion occurred near the surface or at the wellhead, the effects could be disastrous. The additional manipulation of high pressure toxic and flammable gases at surface presents potentially high risks and a full risk assessment is of utmost importance. In the light of this testimony, the group considered it to be essential that all the relevant UK Safety and Environmental regulatory bodies ensure all the necessary safety measures are in place and communicate their activities to the local community. It was also felt that there was an inherent element of risk and uncertainty associated with the lack of control operators may have over the underground combustion process. An uncontrollable and unstoppable underground fire was a fear-raising thought: Charles Alan There would be a public concern that the thing [underground gasification] is uncontrolled. There is nobody down there watching what is going on.

Although UCG engineers claim overall control of the underground combustion process, one member of the group wished to know what was the probability of uncontrolled fire spread due to an unnoticed geological feature such as a fault that would provide air supply to the underground combustion process. Is UCG an Energy Efficient Way of Extracting Energy from Coal? On a technical level, questions were asked about whether UCG was energetically an efficient way of extracting energy from coal. The expert speaker noted that a sizeable amount of the energy produced through UCG is used to actually run the operation. The group’s concern about this was somewhat alleviated by the fact that the pressure at which the product gas emerges is suitable for use in generating energy for the process. This closed loop operation was valued as a positive feature and all members agreed that it should be implemented. To maintain the full benefits of this closed loop cycle, it was recommended that an air separation plant be planned on-site, rather than importing oxygen from existing air separation plants (this being because air separation is a highly energy intensive process, hence should use the product gas). UCG and CO2 Emissions UCG was highly criticised by the group due to the fact that it is still burning fossil fuel, hence producing more CO2 emissions. Some participants felt that from an environmental perspective it does not make sense whatsoever to invest in UCG and develop it for commercial electricity production. The issue that UCG produces gaseous waste was quickly raised by the group, with particular emphasis on CO2 emissions, no doubt because many of the members had already taken part in a Tyndall Centre panel on carbon capture & storage (CCS) (Shackley, McLachlan & Gough, 2003). Bill Without carbon sequestration it doesn’t seem to offer any benefit.

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Throughout the discussion, two possible scenarios were sketched out regarding the issue of CO2 emissions if the UK were to adopt UCG as one of its national power sources: - The CO2 can be emitted into the atmosphere, but this would seriously impede upon the UK’s commitment to reduce CO2 levels by substantial amounts in the medium term and would undoubtedly raise criticism from environmentalists. - The CO2 can be captured and stored underground via carbon sequestration, in certain cases also permitting enhanced oil recovery. The latter scenario has the potential to contribute to an energy supply whilst helping reduce CO2 emissions into the atmosphere. On the face of it, this could be a win-win scenario, but some of the participants considered CCS to be undesirable and potentially dangerous. The earlier citizen panels had conditionally accepted CCS, but only as part of a wider portfolio of options and/or as a bridging policy until we find cleaner ways of producing electricity. Hence CCS should not detract resources and effort away from developing renewables and zero-emission technologies which should remain the priority (Gough et al., 2002; Shackley, McLachlan & Gough 2003). Furthermore, linking up UCG and CCS was of concern to one participant who noted that: It seems like a nice idea to combine UCG with carbon sequestration but it’s linking one unknown technology to another unknown technology. This is making a lot of assumptions that these things are actually going to work, and could lead to a dangerous scenario. It might be argued that the focus group was ‘biased’ in holding reasonably strong views on the significance of CO2 emissions and their avoidance because of its prior exposure to the climate change issue, the need for large CO2 emission reduction and CCS. Clearly, the group was far more informed about the challenge of achieving a sustainable energy economy than an average sample of the general public. The perceptions reported are likely, therefore, to reflect the opinion of more informed and concerned members of the public. Yet, this does reduce the salience of the findings for two reasons: a) opposition to schemes is usually nurtured and catalysed by the more informed and concerned members of local communities, i.e. by those who are more personally motivated; b) as government policy becomes more widely implemented and promoted, greater recognition of the need for very large CO2 emission reduction may be acknowledged by the public. Other Waste By-Products of UCG Apart from CO2, UCG produces other waste which must be stored underground over extensive periods of time and could have catastrophic effects if it were to leak out. This led to some participants likening the waste issues to those encountered in the nuclear industry, possibly reviving some sleeping public opposition to this type of technology. Louis [UCG] is very much like the nuclear industry … and there are problems around public perceptions and knowledge of it, and essentially fear … in

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terms of not understanding it but also in some areas it may hit people’s back pockets where it affects their property. 4.3. Factors that might influence public perceptions such that UCG is perceived more negatively Lack of Trust and the need for clear allocation of responsibilities An interesting issue that was revealed throughout the discussion is that many people are likely to be sceptical about UCG because they do not trust the organisations and companies involved in its development and safe running. While debating the case of Silverdale, one group member declared that he would be on the side of the people of Silverdale and he would not trust any outside organisation. He feels there are only too many examples of catastrophes in the UK, and elsewhere, where the engineers and the responsible parties have said it’s safe and accidents later happened causing deaths. To prove this point, this group member said: Remember Aberfan! [site of a major accident in 1966 in Wales] He then highlighted the irreversibility of planning decisions which have subsequently led to so many disasters in the past: this will work and not make any noise, we promise it… and then when it does what are you going to do about it? The information presented to the participants during the expert speaker’s presentation revealed the existing legislative uncertainty surrounding UCG, raising scepticism about what would constitute ‘best practice’ with respect to UCG operations. As UCG is felt to be a potentially hazardous technology with room for procedures to go wrong and have adverse effects, the participants claimed that it is essential to see high levels of involvement from national and European control and regulatory bodies and for the regulators’ reports to be publicly available. One participant requested written information on each regulatory agency’s responsibilities and liabilities; Jacques There should be a publicly announced and written proof that those responsible for the project will pick up the bill if something goes wrong. ….. None of the public will ever have any confidence in the planners, architects, engineers, anyone like that … unless there is a mechanism.

He insisted that there should be a mechanism ensuring each body’s liability and suggested that a mandatory and robust insurance policy. Such comments reflected a lack of confidence in the existing regulatory framework for major hazards and too many past accidents and/or lack of liability for problems when they occurred. This is a reflection of a broader lack of trust in operators or authorities for ensuring good conduct of operations, including taking responsibility for failure followed by action to repair any damage. According to Judith Petts (University of Birmingham), members of the public are more likely to trust local authorities than Government agencies (ENDS, 1999). The focus group were generally in favour of extensive safety and regulatory frameworks surrounding UCG with publicly

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available reports on each body’s involvement, alongside written proof of each body’s responsibilities and duties if something goes wrong. The role of the media Another factor that may influence public perception is the media’s coverage of the project. The way that the issue is presented by the media could have a great bearing on the acceptability of any proposals, as illustrated for environmental matters in general (Gamson & Modigliani, 1990, Chapman, 1997, Social Learning Group, 2001). Indeed, if the media confirms and fuels people’s fears about the safety and environmental risks associated with UCG, this may create substantial public opposition regardless of scientific data, expert views and communication programmes. For example, in the Brent Spar episode, Greenpeace was successful in convincing the media, and consequently the general public, that disposal at sea would incur unacceptable environmental risks (Grove-White, 1996). This was achieved despite scientific opinion, backed by many academics and the British government, which deemed ocean dumping to be the most benign option (Shell, 2001). The focus group recognised the power of the media over these issues and an illustrative example of this matter can be found in the Silverdale case discussed in chapter three. 4.4. Factors that might influence public perceptions such that UCG is perceived more positively Open and Transparent Information and Decision-Making Overall, it was reasoned that people might be concerned about the “uncontrollability” factor: what is happening underground? Can this lead to disaster? It was felt that reassurance might be obtained from clear, transparent and accessible information regarding the involvement of the European or national control and protection bodies. It would be an advantage if the general public could see the written proof of these bodies enforcing laws, regulations and ensuring good practice. The main emphasis here is on making the data understandable to the general public and providing easy, fast and reliable access to that information. Louis The process of it [UCG] [decision making] has got to be open and accessible to the public.

The transparency of operations and their impacts through up-to-date, accurate and easily accessible data and reports was stressed as critical. It was advised that there needs to be a physical centre where people can go to get information and where they can ask questions, e.g. some sort of community centre/ visitor centre, combined with open days where the public can visit the UCG site and plant. It was also pointed out that formal information reporting should take place within the information centre. This could be delivered through various means such as permanent ‘introduction to UCG’ information leaflets and posters, up-to-date leaflets and posters on the most recent operations, occasional seminars and conferences open to the public, an information help-line and website, etc.2 It was also suggested that a substantial part of the information disclosed should be
As well as a ‘visitor centre for access by the local community, national disclosure of information on the web, with links to more specific data from each trial site or running site, could be promoted. 2

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examined and validated by independent reviewers. These reviewers need to be trusted by and accessible to the public. It would be better if it were a trusted and well-recognised part of the local community who was paid to carry out these independent reviews on a daily basis. Jacques there needs to be a mechanism to make sure things are going well all the time, so you can be reassured and you’re nor living in fear.

Availability of Resources to the Local Community It was also suggested that the UCG project should provide an allocated budget which could be used by the community to appoint their own independent reviewers to cross examine the information disclosed by the operators and regulatory bodies. This appears to be an interesting way to get the local community involved and to provide people with a sense of control. It could be achieved using only a fraction of the money involved in the trial tests or the commercial running of a UCG plant. Jacques [UCG] is presented to us as a solution to some very serious problems, and if you are going to do that, you have got to have public transparency and you have got to involve the local community in it and bind them in.

Spin-off Benefits for the Local Community from a UCG Site and Plant The focus group felt that if a UCG trial site or commercial plant were to be situated near to a local community, this should be tied in with policies that benefitted the area in other ways. It was felt that local communities should get ‘something in return’ for accepting a UCG plant in their ‘backyard’. This point led to a fruitful discussion on how the local perception of a UCG project could be turned around so that it was regarded as part of a highly beneficial community programme. The group approved of the suggestion by the Silverdale local authority for a UCG technology and R&D centre to be based in a science park, which was to be part of its regeneration programme. The group then went on to discuss what other components could be added to the UCG/regeneration programme. Here is a brief description of the proposed initiatives: A UCG programme should be combined with other, more labour intensive industrial developments as part of an employment initiative. During the carbon capture phases of UCG (there are 4 different levels of carbon capture from UCG), the potential for hydrogen production could be optimised and used to set up a local hydrogen economy project, e.g. the running of the town buses on hydrogen. The group wanted to see more information on the extra costs of producing hydrogen from UCG with CCS before deciding on the viability of this proposal. Part of the budget that would be made available to the local community can be used to launch an energy demand reduction scheme. A similar scheme conducted by N-Power was cited as an example whereby selected houses were to benefit from energy improvement features such as efficient insulation, low wattage light bulbs, etc. worth over £1000.

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As a summary of the suggestions made above, the group felt that local communities would perceive UCG much more positively and be more willing to have a production plant as a neighbour if the UCG programme is tied in with various other programmes for improvement regarding issues such as employment and good local environmental performance. The various schemes should be coordinated and presented together as an integrated local improvement and regeneration scheme. Indeed, following the discussion of other benefits, the prospect of seeing UCG developed alone raised little enthusiasm, whereas the participants all agreed on the possible benefits to the local community, and to the UK generally, if UCG is part of a package of measures aimed at improving the local economy, quality of life and the environment. The possibility of proposing the sale of shares in a UCG joint venture company to the local population was also discussed. Local shares bought by the community might give a more positive view on the benefits of UCG to the local community. In the event of a house owner leaving the area, it was suggested that the shares should be either attached to the property or be bought back by the joint venture company which would then offer the new tenants the opportunity to invest in the shares. Importantly though, participants argued that all these measures must be formulated and implemented in a manner that does not convey the wrong impression to the local community that they are being ‘bought off’ in order to accept the risks they associate with UCG. 4.5. Is there a significant difference in perceptions between on- and off-shore UCG? This discussion topic was only brief because of the apparent technical problems of set up and operations at a distant off-shore location, as conveyed by the expert speaker. It was consequently accepted that distant off-shore UCG operations are not yet technically feasible. The possibility of estuarine or close-to-shore operations was briefly discussed but it was merely to underline the possible damage to biodiversity that would be caused. No real conclusions were drawn about off-shore operations. However, it was pointed out that UCG should preferably take place on-shore because if something went wrong it would be easier to access and try to solve the problem before too much damage was done. 4.6. How does UCG fit into the Low Carbon energy system envisaged in the Energy White Paper? UCG could be combined with CCS to fulfil the objectives of low-carbon energy supply and energy security. The most acceptable use of CCS is as a bridging policy, especially in the light of the long term uncertainties surrounding the technology (Shackley et al. 2003). That would mean that UCG must also be adopted as a bridging policy and must be faded out at the same time as carbon sequestration. This leads one to consider the length of time such bridging policies are intended to be in place. It was felt by members of the group that CCS would be acceptable for a maximum period of twenty to thirty years. On the other hand it was felt that if UCG is successfully developed and implemented for commercial purposes in the UK, Government and industrialists would want to maintain it as a main feature of national infrastructure for a substantially longer period. If UCG is to be developed alongside

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carbon sequestration, the operational life of these technologies should be co-ordinated and measured over the same periods of time. The focus group, fearing that the length of the bridge for each of these technologies will be different, suggested that UCG should be viewed as more of a ‘backstop technology’ that would be readily available to the UK in case of a sudden shortage of other power supplies. This approach would suggest that UCG be further researched and developed until it is a readily available off-the-shelf technology, but that it should not be made a significant part of the energy infrastructure unless there is a sudden energy crisis. The potential mismatch in the timescales over which UCG and CCS are necessary and desirable is an important issue which requires further analysis and clarification.

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5: SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS
5.1. Literature Review and the Silverdale Case-Study Drawing on the literature relating to the siting of hazardous facilities, analysis of the Silverdale case study highlights a number of key lessons which are likely to prove important when selecting and seeking consent for future UCG sites. The local social, cultural and institutional context will have enormous influence on the manner in which the risks and benefits associated with UCG are perceived. In Silverdale, the familiarity of local people with the consequences and legacies of conventional coal mining amplified the perceptions of risk of affected people. In cases in other countries, the remoteness of the area meant that local people welcomed UCG trials on the basis of providing local economic benefit. Overall, local context will be an important factor in site selection. Site selection needs to be made according to a set of criteria that encompass the values and concerns of affected parties, as well as the more technical or economic concerns of developers. The site selection process will have to be transparent and open to scrutiny in order to promote trust between all parties to the process. Early communication with local politicians may prove beneficial in uncovering the local context in which the development occurs, as well as issues of concern. In many cases, a favourable attitude from local politicians may help to ease the consent process for a scheme. When seeking to obtain the necessary consents for a UCG scheme, communication with affected parties will benefit if this is carried out as part of a systematic risk communication strategy. This should be a two way process so that the issues of concern for local people can be determined and addressed. Where appropriate, safety plans and site management procedures should be published and clearly defined areas of liability established. The establishment of a site liaison committee helps to ensure a smooth and transparent, two-way flow of information between the management of a facility and local people. Safety and environmental monitoring records should be open to general scrutiny. In this way, trust can be build. The Focus Group All of the focus group participants recognised the potential of UCG as a secure source of energy for the UK in the years to come, so long as it is safe to human health and the environment and cost effective. It was also recognised that there could be net economic benefits to be reaped if the UK comes to acquire a technical mastery of the process and can export the technology overseas. However, there were also substantial concerns directed at UCG during the discussions held for this study. All of the group members agreed that in its present state any UCG trial site or commercial site situated nearby a local community seems to provide no advantages to the commune but puts the inhabitants at risk of industrial hazards. Any community would feel like a guinea pig if it were to accept being part of a trial and is likely to put up fierce opposition to the project. It was therefore concluded that future trial tests should be conducted in more remote areas. This finding reflects very closely the literature on siting of potentially hazardous sites, and the experience of the Silverdale case.

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A potential problem with UCG is that the focus group perceives it as a high-risk system that has the potential for disastrous effects in terms of health and safety to the local community. There is a general feeling by the group that fire hazards and explosions could occur and the potential for environmental degradation is further fuel for public opposition. The high level of concern arises from the perceived lack of control of a combustion process occurring underground and from the perception of a high level of uncertainty concerning the potential hazards. We stress that we are reporting on perceptions based on limited information and time for discussion. More time for deliberation and more precise information on the risks and their assessment might readily have changed some of the starting perceptions. With regards to its environmental performance, UCG was criticised for the fact that it is still burning fossil fuel, which does not seem to respect the national and international efforts to reduce CO2 emissions. Although a feasible option would be to capture the CO2 and store it underground via carbon sequestration (in certain cases also permitting enhanced oil recovery), this still presents the problem for some of the focus participants of linking together two controversial, not fully tested and potentially dangerous technologies. A better solution, at this stage, would be to emphasis the UCG benefits of CO2 capture, which is proven technology, and await developments in underground CO2 sequestration, currently under development in the UK and elsewhere. Overall, it was felt by this group that UCG should only be considered in combination with carbon capture & storage (CCS), though this might be a consequence in part of the presence in the group of 6 members of the Tyndall Centre Citizen Panel on CCS held in the first quarter of 2003. That citizen panel favoured CCS as a bridging policy during which time renewable energies should be fully developed, meaning UCG would automatically have to be planned over an equivalent time period. Several participants of the focus group favoured further development of UCG until it is a ready-to-use technology, but that it should only be implemented on a large scale if other energy supplies fail; i.e. UCG should be viewed primarily as a potential back-stop technology. Nevertheless, UCG was still viewed by most members of the group as a good energy safety net for the UK and several suggestions were made as to improving its public perception and integrating it more closely within a sustainable energy programme, and sustainable development more generally. First of all one must overcome the public’s lack of confidence towards operators and responsible bodies. The main mechanism suggested to achieve this was through greater transparency of operations and clear information regarding the day-to-day processes, safety measures and environmental impacts of the UCG plant. This could be done through: creating an information/community centre where people can easily inform themselves and ask questions. Up-to-date information on operations and plans would be made available. This could be complemented by occasional public events by regulatory and operational bodies and open days where the public could access the plant. Providing a budget to the local community so they can employ independent reviewers and experts in order to cross-examine all data and ensure good practice and conduct of operations. In this way, the local community would have greater confidence in the regulatory process and underlying data so improving mutual trust. Getting the media to advertise this ‘collaboration scheme’ and to provide a publication avenue for information and developments.

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Providing a written statement regarding the responsibilities, duties and liabilities to be undertaken by each responsible party in the event of an incident.

It is striking how similar the results of the literature review and the focus group discussions are with respect to the breakdown of trust, the need for greater transparency and openness in decision-making. Secondly, UCG should be presented to the community within a package of improvement measures such as: - combining UCG with other and related labour intensive industrial developments as part of an employment initiative, or with local regeneration schemes; Related activities could include industries based on the availability of UCG product gas, e.g. energy intensive activities, greenhouse cultivation, or Syngas chemical production processes. - Producing Hydrogen from the product gas during the carbon capture operations in order to set up a local Hydrogen economy scheme such as running the town buses on this clean fuel. This could then provide environmental benefits as well as helping the area become a pioneer of hydrogen technology and infrastructure. Finally, the possibility of proposing shares in a UCG joint venture company to the local population was also discussed, as this might give a more positive view on the benefits of UCG for the local community. The challenge with tie-in benefits such as local regeneration of joint venture companies is to avoid the proposal coming to look like a ‘bribe’ to local communities to accept risks that would not otherwise be acceptable, a danger that has been highlighted in the literature review. Main Recommendations Operators, authorities and governmental regulatory bodies are faced with the challenge of providing further assessments of the risks, as well as constructing a due process for making decisions, that will help to build-up trust in the technology with local communities. Some of the ways in which these challenges might be addressed which arose from the focus group discussions are: Develop UCG on a small scale in order to obtain technical mastery of the process and potential innovations in an incremental fashion. Do not develop UCG without including the benefits of carbon capture and possibly sequestration, and pay particular attention during planning to ensure that the life expectancy for UCG correlates with the bridging policy of Carbon Sequestration. Include UCG within a package of measures aimed at improving the local community’s quality of life, economy, environment and employment. Make sure all operations, operators and other responsible parties are transparent and open in their dealings with the public and regulators, providing clear and accurate information and also providing local residents with the opportunity to cross-examine the information, developers, technical experts and regulators. Include the local public and stakeholder reactions as part of the site selection process, along side the more tangible issues such as coal geology, hydrogeology and other planning issues.

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Undertake a professional communication strategy, before (and after) any trial site is selected, including setting up of an information web site, and the production of other suitable publications.

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
We would like to thank the following: all the participants in our focus group, who contributed so actively to our discussions; Susan Stubbs for her invaluable research support, and to Dr Michael Green for participating as an expert witness. Finally we would like to thank the Cleaner Fossil Fuels Programme of the DTI for the opportunity to conduct this research through their financial support. The Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research has provided enabling background financial and administrative support.

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REFERENCES
Burgess, J., Limb, M. & Harrison, C. (1988), “Exploring Environmental Values through the Medium of Small Groups 1: Theory and practice”, Environment & Planning A,20: pp. 309-326. Chapman, G. (1997), Environment and the Media: The North-South Divide, Routledge, London. Earthed. (2002). "Wind for All." September, 10-12. ENDS reports (1999), Finding an ally in public opinion: A strategy for the waste sector, Sept 99, issue no 26, www.endsreport.com Fischhoff, B. (1995), “Risk perception and communication unplugged: twenty years of process”. Risk Analysis, 15, 137-145. Gamson, W. & Modigliani, A. (1990), “Media Discourse and Public Opinion on Nuclear Power Gough, C., Taylor, I. & Shackley, S. (2002), “Burying Carbon under the Sea: An Initial Exploration of Public Opinions”, Energy and Environment, vol 13, 6: pp.883-900. Greenbaun, T. (1998), The Handbook for Focus Group Research, Sage, London. Groothuis, P. and Miller, G. (1997). "The Role of Social Distrust in Risk-Benefit Analysis:A Study of the Siting of a Hazardous Waste Disposal Facility." Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, 15, 241-257. Grove-White, R. (1996), “Brent Spar re-wrote the rules”, New Statesman, June 20th, 1996. Harrison, C., Burgess, J & Filius, P. (1996), “Rationalising Environmental Responsibilities: A Comparison of Lay Publics in the UK and the Netherlands”, Global Environmental Change, 6: 215234. International Agency for Research on Cancer (1987), “Coal Gasification”. Jackson, T. and Lofstedt, R. (1998). "Renewable Energy Sources." Background report for the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution. Kasperson, R. E., Golding, D. and Tuler, S. (1992). "Social Distrust as a Factor in Siting Hazardous Facilities and Communicating Risks." Journal of Social Issues, 48, 161-187. Krueger, R (1998), Focus Group Kit 3: Developing Questions for Focus Groups; Focus Group Kit 4: Moderating Focus Groups; Focus Group Kit 6: Analysing and Reporting Focus Group Results, Sage, London. Kunreuther, H. and Easterling, D. (1996). "The role of compensation in siting hazardous facilities." Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 15(4), 601-622. 29

Kunreuther, H., Fitzgerald, K. and Aats, T. (1993). "Siting noxious facilities: a test of the facility siting credo." Risk Analysis, 13, 301-318. Lofstedt, R. (1997). “Evaluation of Siting Strategies: “The Case of Two UK Waste Tyre Incinerators”. Risk: Health, Safety and Environment, Winter 1997, 63-77. Lofstedt, R. and Renn, O. (1997). "The Brent Spar controversy-an example of risk communication gone wrong." Risk Analysis, 17(2), 131-136. Lynn F.M and Busenberg, G.J. (1995). “Citizen Advisory commitees and environmental policy: what we know, what’s left to discover.” Risk Analysis. 15, 147-162. Miranda, M. L., Miller, J. N. and Jacobs, T. L. (2000). "Talking Trash about Landfills: Using Quantitative Scoring Schemes in Landfill Siting Processes." Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 19(1), 3-22. Petts, J. and Leach, B. (2000). "Evaluating methods for Public Participation: Literature Review." R & D Technical Report E135, Environment Agency. Petts, J. (1998). "Trust and waste management information: expectation versus observation." Journal of Risk Research, 194, 307-321. Quah, E. and Tan, K. C. (1998). "The siting problem of NIMBY facilities: cost-benefit analysis and auction mechanisms." Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, 16, 255-264. Renn , O., Webler, T. and Wiedemann, P. (1995). Fairness and Competence in Citizen Participation: evaluating models for environmental discourse, Kluwer, Dordrecht. Rogers, G. O. (1998). "Siting potentially hazardous facilities: what factors impact perceived and acceptable risk?" Landscape and Urban Planning, 39, 265-281. Shackley, S., McLachlan, C. & Gough, C. (2003), The Public Perceptions of Carbon Capture and Storage, report to AEA Technology plc for the DTI, The Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, UMIST, Manchester. Shell (2001), The Brent Spar Dossier (www.shell.com/uk-en/directory/0,4010,25268,00.html) Simmons, P. and Walker, G. (1999). “Tolerating risk: policy principles and public perceptions.” Risk Decision and Policy, 4, 3, 179-190 Slovic, P. (1993). "Perceived Risk, Trust and Democracy." Risk Analysis, 13, 675-682. Slovic, P. (2001). "The risk game." Journal of Hazardous Materials, 86, 17-24.

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Social Learning Group, (2001), Learning to Manage Global Environmental Risks, Volumes 1 & 2, MIT Press, Cambridge. Walker, G. Simmons, P. Irwin, A. and Wynne, B. (1999). “Risk communication, public participation and the Seveso II directive.” Journal of Hazardous Materials, 65, 179-190 Walker, G. (1995). "Renewable energy and the public." Land Use Policy, 12(1), 49-59.

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APPENDIX A.
PROGRAMME FOR MEETING ON PUBLIC PERCEPTIONS OF UNDERGROUND COAL GASIFICATION. 21st June 2003, St John’s College, York. Facilitated by Simon Shackley, with assistance from Sue Stubbs and Alexander Reiche. 10.45am: 11.00am: 11.10am: 11.30am: Coffee Introduction (Simon Shackley). Aims and objectives of the day. Questions. Initial round the table survey of perceptions of UCG. First reactions, main concerns, subsequent reactions, etc. (Simon Shackley) Expert witness: Michael Green, Independent UCG Consultant.

Areas that will be covered: • • • • • • • • What is UCG? Why has it been proposed and historical perspective What are the UK Government or other organisations proposing for the UK? What has already taken place or is planned for in the UK and what was the outcome? What are the potentially beneficial aspects of UCG? What are the potentially adverse aspects of UCG? How does UCG relate to the low-carbon sustainable energy economy? How well can the technical risks be elucidated? How likely is it that better information on the risks will be available in the near future? • What is going on with UCG in other parts of the world? • What reaction has there been to UCG pilot or demonstration projects in, e.g. Australia, Spain and South Africa?

12.30pm:

LUNCH

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1.00pm: 2.00pm: 2.15pm: 2.45pm: 3.05pm: 3.30pm: 4.05pm: 4.25pm: 4.50pm:

Session resumes. Discussion and further questions to Michael Green. Presentation by Alexander Reiche and resume of key points arising from discussion (Simon + Sue +Alex) Discussion of question 1): What are the main dangers and objections to UCG as perceived by members of the public? Discussion of question2): What are the main benefits and advantages of UCG as perceived by members of the public? Discussion of question 3): What factors, if any, might change public perceptions such that UCG is perceived more favourably? Discussion of question 4): What factors, if any, might change public perceptions such that UCG is perceived less favourably? Discussion of question 5): Is there a significant difference in perceptions between onand off-shore UCG? Discussion of question 6): How does UCG fit into a sustainable low-carbon energy system as envisaged in the Energy White Paper? RESUME AND CONCLUSIONS FROM THE DAY. Including opportunity for participants to raise other issues and questions not addressed during the day.

5.30pm:

FINISH

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APPENDIX B. Questions Arising from the York Focus Group held on 21st June 2003
The following questions were raised during the afternoon session of the meeting and were compiled and sent to appropriate experts, most of whom responded. Their answers are shown below and could be used in a further set of focus group discussions. 1) What is the energy consumption per capita of different countries?
World OECD Middle East Former USSR Non–OECD Europe China Asia Latin America Africa UK TPES/Person 1.64 4.68 2.31 3.24 1.71 0.9 0.6 1.07 0.63 4.05

Reference: IEA Key Statistics 2003 TPES: Total Primary Energy Supplied (Tonnes of Coal Equivalent) 2) Regarding the explosion at the UCG site in Spain did any one above ground hear the explosion? I.e. would such an event be noticeable to local inhabitants? No one in the control room in Spain heard anything, although a technician near the wellhead reported a low rumble. Local inhabitants would hear nothing if an explosion occurred significantly below the surface. The well was depressurized and made safe within about an hour. The incident was due to a back flow of product gases within the coal seam itself. 3) Are there any other reasons why an explosion at an underground UCG site would matter to humans or the environment? Yes. Destruction of the underground boreholes or engineering equipment is highly undesirable and should be avoided at all cost. An underground explosion could damage the integrity of the liners and lead to the spread of gases and pollutants into the adjacent strata. Part of the design is a system, which rapidly depressurizes the well in the event of failure, thereby minimizing the spread of pollutants. This system was in place in the Spanish trial. However, it destroyed a section of the borehole, which eventually led to the closure of the

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tests. The lesson learned from Spain is that additional safeguards (mainly additional instrumentation) are required to avoid the events, which could lead to an underground explosion. If an explosion occurred very close to the surface or at the wellhead, the effects could be disastrous. The same occurs with oil and gas wells (e.g. Saddam Hussein’s damage to the Kuwait oil wells), and the well design must accommodate such eventualities, with appropriate shut down devices. The HSE Oil and Gas Division will subject all on shore wells to a vigorous evaluation prior to construction. The integrity of the design has to be independently evaluated and the all risks assessed. In summary, the UK Environmental and Safety Regulations will ensure that humans and the environment are fully protected from underground operations. 4) Is there any increased risk of explosions above-ground for a UCG facility compared to other similar uses of coal or gas? The above ground plant for UCG is simpler than say an IGCC plant, and the overall risks are probably slightly lower. However, the handling of high-pressure toxic and flammable gases at surface (e.g. oil refineries, gas production plant, chemical production, etc) is potentially very dangerous. The risks have to be fully assessed and the surface plant must be designed to manage and minimise the risk. HSE Regulations will ensure that any plant built in the UK will have evaluated the risks, and the plant will be designed to eliminate all the potential safety and environmental hazards that could occur during UCG operations, including shut down procedures. 5) Are there any particular risks arising from the other pollutants that arise from burning coal which come above ground in the product gas? Is the cleaning and disposal of such pollutants (sulphur and nitrous oxides, etc.) any different (better or worse) compared to other uses of coal? The product gas reaching the surface will contain small concentrations of heavy metals, a variety of sulphur and nitrogen compounds, intermediate products such as coal tar and polluted water in both vapour and liquid form. The concentrations of these contaminants have to be reduced to very low levels, before presenting them to gas turbines, and there are strict controls (increasing all the time) about the concentration of the final combustion gases that are emitted to atmosphere. An additional safeguard for UCG is that the process has to be licensed as a gasification process under the new IPPC Regulations, and the process is assessed by the Environment Agency against sustainability and other environmental criteria. Comparing UCG with other modern coal plant, • It is always easier (and less costly) to clean the gases prior to combustion than carry out pollutant control in the flue gases. • Some of the sulphur remains in the ground as pyrite and is not brought to surface. • The high discharge pressure of UCG will be an advantage in the sizing of clean-up plant and the operation of hot ceramic filters.

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On the adverse side, UCG gases contain more water than say surface gasification plant (more water to process and discharge) and the water content is higher.

On balance, the processing of UCG gas is probably easier (with lower risk) than other forms of coal usage. This includes CO2 capture. 6) Would you say that there is a benefit arising from use of UCG in terms of producing hydrogen, compared to other methods for producing hydrogen? I.e. is there an advantage in hydrogen production from coal using UCG because of the high pressure of the product gas? (E.g. is this a better (cheaper, more efficient) way of producing hydrogen than, say, IGCC?). Hydrogen is plentiful but nearly always combined with other elements, e.g. in water or hydrocarbons, and the problem is supplying the energy (and minimizing the CO2 produced) to free it. The most efficient method of hydrogen production is from natural gas, but this is wasteful of a high hydrogen fuel. Compared with IGCC, I would say there is very little difference: any advantage of higher pressure will be offset by the need for an extra stage to convert the methane to hydrogen. This question however, reminds me that the Chinese are already using a two-stage UCG process (air then steam injection) to produce a high hydrogen gas (>50%) to improve its usefulness as a distributed gas for cooking, etc. 7) Is it possible to say how much the costs of producing energy from UCG increases as you increase the amount of hydrogen being produced, and consequently increase the amount of CO2 that is being captured? I.e. in the graph showing the successively reduced amounts of CO2 being produced, can you say by how much the costs of energy generation increase? I think these calculations have to be done rigorously to have real credibility, and this has not been done yet for UCG. With this caveat, and taking the figure (in my previously note) of $10-$20/tonne for the average cost for UCG of CO2 avoided, the likely cost of CO2 capture is around 0.5–1.0p/KWh of electricity generated. At this stage, and in the absence of detailed information, I would suggest that these costs correspond to the first two stages suggested in my presentation, namely: • CO2 capture from product gas alone i.e. a reduction to 45% CO2. • Shift reaction to reduce CO2 concentration of 25% The POX conversion to reduce CO2 to zero would be more costly and probably outside the range suggested above.

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8) Are there any opportunities for UCG in distant off-shore locations (e.g. where coal reserves occur in the North Sea) in the future? Or is distant off-shore always likely to be too expensive or risky? I think that the distant offshore locations, around Shetland and elsewhere where coal measures are very thick would be an ideal target for UCG operations. It will be expensive, but not necessarily risky, with existing technology, but I could foresee undersea modules, robotic developments, which would make the process practical in the future.

9) Would biodiveristy / habitat protection issues be a major impediment for use of UCG in estuarine / near-shore sites? E.g. much of the coal reserve close to shore appears to be in the Wash area, where major biodiversity resources occur. The only involvement we have really had with estuaries for this project is associated with wastewater discharges from onshore operations (which would be controlled in any case) and hence have not examined the risks posed by offshore or near shore activities. However, putting a gas pipeline through a sensitive coastal area (SAC, Ramsar etc) close to shore is likely to be a considerable issue and would probably experience significant resistance from the regulatory authorities and local pressure groups. The cost of environmental assessments in these areas tends to be high due to the complex nature of estuarine hydrology and ecology. The risk posed by the rector itself to groundwater offshore is probably much lower as the groundwater around the site is likely to be saline (depending on flow regime and distance offshore), so is not subject to the same controls as onshore aquifers. The geological parameters required for a viable operational site mean that the site should be geological ‘tight’ in any case, so the concentration of any contaminants reaching the seabed from the reactor are likely to be very small in comparison to the volumes of water in the estuary or sea. 10) If there was leakage of product gas from pipelines related to estuarine / near shore UCG sites what would be the implications for ecosystems and biodiversity under the sea and above ground? The risk of underwater escapes from gas pipelines has not been quantified for marine/estuary ecosystems, but the potential impact may be significant at a sensitive site. Above ground this becomes an air emissions issue and does not pose any specific risk to aquatic systems. 11) What is the possibility of deep aquifers at the depth of the combustion site (e.g. 600 to 800m depth) connecting over long time periods with the shallower aquifers used to provide water for public supply? I.e. is there a risk that contaminated water could gradually seep up over long time periods?

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12) Is any post-UCG experiment monitoring being conducted at the Spanish site? E.g. relating to possible contamination of aquifers? If so, for how long and how is the monitoring done? A five-year programme of post-gasification monitoring was initiated at the end of operations. It involved monitoring the water in a near site well, the water in a nearby river, and the water supply to the local town. No change in the contaminant concentration was detected.

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The trans-disciplinary Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research undertakes integrated research into the long-term consequences of climate change for society and into the development of sustainable responses that governments, business-leaders and decision-makers can evaluate and implement. Achieving these objectives brings together UK climate scientists, social scientists, engineers and economists in a unique collaborative research effort. Research at the Tyndall Centre is organised into four research themes that collectively contribute to all aspects of the climate change issue: Integrating Frameworks; Decarbonising Modern Societies; Adapting to Climate Change; and Sustaining the Coastal Zone. All thematic fields address a clear problem posed to society by climate change, and will generate results to guide the strategic development of climate change mitigation and adaptation policies at local, national and global scales. The Tyndall Centre is named after the 19th century UK scientist John Tyndall, who was the first to prove the Earth’s natural greenhouse effect and suggested that slight changes in atmospheric composition could bring about climate variations. In addition, he was committed to improving the quality of science education and knowledge. The Tyndall Centre is a partnership of the following institutions: University of East Anglia UMIST Southampton Oceanography Centre University of Southampton University of Cambridge Centre for Ecology and Hydrology SPRU – Science and Technology Policy Research (University of Sussex) Institute for Transport Studies (University of Leeds) Complex Systems Management Centre (Cranfield University) Energy Research Unit (CLRC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory) The Centre is core funded by the following organisations: Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC) Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) UK Government Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) For more information, visit the Tyndall Centre Web site (www.tyndall.ac.uk) or contact: External Communications Manager Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK Phone: +44 (0) 1603 59 3906; Fax: +44 (0) 1603 59 3901 Email: tyndall@uea.ac.uk

Recent Working Papers Tyndall Working Papers are available online at http://www.tyndall.ac.uk/publications/working_papers/working_papers.shtml Mitchell, T. and Hulme, M. (2000). A Country-byCountry Analysis of Past and Future Warming Rates, Tyndall Centre Working Paper 1. Hulme, M. (2001). Integrated Assessment Models, Tyndall Centre Working Paper 2. Berkhout, F, Hertin, J. and Jordan, A. J. (2001). Socio-economic futures in climate change impact assessment: using scenarios as 'learning machines', Tyndall Centre Working Paper 3. Barker, T. and Ekins, P. (2001). How High are the Costs of Kyoto for the US Economy?, Tyndall Centre Working Paper 4. Barnett, J. (2001). The issue of 'Adverse Effects and the Impacts of Response Measures' in the UNFCCC, Tyndall Centre Working Paper 5. Goodess, C.M., Hulme, M. and Osborn, T. (2001). The identification and evaluation of suitable scenario development methods for the estimation of future probabilities of extreme weather events, Tyndall Centre Working Paper 6. Barnett, J. (2001). Security and Climate Change, Tyndall Centre Working Paper 7. Adger, W. N. (2001). Social Capital and Climate Change, Tyndall Centre Working Paper 8. Barnett, J. and Adger, W. N. (2001). Climate Dangers and Atoll Countries, Tyndall Centre Working Paper 9. Gough, C., Taylor, I. and Shackley, S. (2001). Burying Carbon under the Sea: An Initial Exploration of Public Opinions, Tyndall Centre Working Paper 10. Barker, T. (2001). Representing the Integrated Assessment of Climate Change, Adaptation and Mitigation, Tyndall Centre Working Paper 11. Dessai, S., (2001). The climate regime from The Hague to Marrakech: Saving or sinking the Kyoto Protocol?, Tyndall Centre Working Paper 12. Dewick, P., Green K., Miozzo, M., (2002). Technological Change, Industry Structure and the Environment, Tyndall Centre Working Paper 13. Shackley, S. and Gough, C., (2002). The Use of Integrated Assessment: An Institutional Analysis Perspective, Tyndall Centre Working Paper 14. Köhler, J.H., (2002). Long run technical change in an energy-environment-economy (E3) model for an IA system: A model of Kondratiev waves, Tyndall Centre Working Paper 15. Adger, W.N., Huq, S., Brown, K., Conway, D. and Hulme, M. (2002). Adaptation to climate change: Setting the Agenda for Development Policy and Research, Tyndall Centre Working Paper 16. Dutton, G., (2002). Hydrogen Energy Technology, Tyndall Centre Working Paper 17. Watson, J. (2002). The development of large technical systems: implications for hydrogen, Tyndall Centre Working Paper 18. Pridmore, A. and Bristow, A., (2002). The role of hydrogen in powering road transport, Tyndall Centre Working Paper 19. Turnpenny, J. (2002). Reviewing organisational use of scenarios: Case study - evaluating UK energy policy options, Tyndall Centre Working Paper 20. Watson, W. J. (2002). Renewables and CHP Deployment in the UK to 2020, Tyndall Centre Working Paper 21. Watson, W.J., Hertin, J., Randall, T., Gough, C. (2002). Renewable Energy and Combined Heat and Power Resources in the UK, Tyndall Centre Working Paper 22. Paavola, J. and Adger, W.N. (2002). Justice and adaptation to climate change, Tyndall Centre Working Paper 23. Xueguang Wu, Jenkins, N. and Strbac, G. (2002). Impact of Integrating Renewables and CHP into the UK Transmission Network, Tyndall Centre Working Paper 24 Xueguang Wu, Mutale, J., Jenkins, N. and Strbac, G. (2003). An investigation of Network Splitting for Fault Level Reduction, Tyndall Centre Working Paper 25

Brooks, N. and Adger W.N. (2003). Country level risk measures of climate-related natural disasters and implications for adaptation to climate change, Tyndall Centre Working Paper 26 Tompkins, E.L. and Adger, W.N. (2003). Building resilience to climate change through adaptive management of natural resources, Tyndall Centre Working Paper 27 Dessai, S., Adger, W.N., Hulme, M., Köhler, J.H., Turnpenny, J. and Warren, R. (2003). Defining and experiencing dangerous climate change, Tyndall Centre Working Paper 28 Brown, K. and Corbera, E. (2003). A MultiCriteria Assessment Framework for CarbonMitigation Projects: Putting “development” in the centre of decision-making, Tyndall Centre Working Paper 29 Hulme, M. (2003). Abrupt climate change: can society cope?, Tyndall Centre Working Paper 30 Turnpenny, J., Haxeltine A. and O’Riordan, T. (2003). A scoping study of UK user needs for managing climate futures. Part 1 of the pilotphase interactive integrated assessment process (Aurion Project), Tyndall Centre Working Paper 31 Xueguang Wu, Jenkins, N. and Strbac, G. (2003). Integrating Renewables and CHP into the UK Electricity System: Investigation of the impact of network faults on the stability of large offshore wind farms, Tyndall Centre Working Paper 32 Pridmore, A., Bristow, A.L., May, A. D. and Tight, M.R. (2003). Climate Change, Impacts, Future Scenarios and the Role of Transport, Tyndall Centre Working Paper 33 Dessai, S., Hulme, M (2003). Does climate policy need probabilities?, Tyndall Centre Working Paper 34 Tompkins, E. L. and Hurlston, L. (2003). Report to the Cayman Islands’ Government. Adaptation lessons learned from responding to tropical cyclones by the Cayman Islands’ Government, 1988 – 2002, Tyndall Centre Working Paper 35 Kröger, K. Fergusson, M. and Skinner, I. (2003). Critical Issues in Decarbonising Transport: The Role of Technologies, Tyndall Centre Working Paper 36 Ingham, A. and Ulph, A. (2003) Uncertainty, Irreversibility, Precaution and the Social Cost of Carbon, Tyndall Centre Working Paper 37

Brooks, N. (2003). Vulnerability, risk and adaptation: a conceptual framework, Tyndall Centre Working Paper 38 Tompkins, E.L. and Adger, W.N. (2003). Defining response capacity to enhance climate change policy, Tyndall Centre Working Paper 39 Klein, R.J.T., Lisa Schipper, E. and Dessai, S. (2003), Integrating mitigation and adaptation into climate and development policy: three research questions, Tyndall Centre Working Paper 40 Watson, J. (2003), UK Electricity Scenarios for 2050, Tyndall Centre Working Paper 41 Kim, J. A. (2003), Sustainable Development and the CDM: A South African Case Study, Tyndall Centre Working Paper 42 Anderson, D. and Winne, S. (2003), Innovation and Threshold Effects in Technology Responses to Climate Change, Tyndall Centre Working Paper 43 Shackley, S., McLachlan, C. and Gough, C. (2004) The Public Perceptions of Carbon Capture and Storage, Tyndall Centre Working Paper 44 Purdy, R. and Macrory, R. (2004) Geological carbon sequestration: critical legal issues, Tyndall Centre Working Paper 45 Watson, J., Tetteh, A., Dutton, G., Bristow, A., Kelly, C., Page, M. and Pridmore, A., (2004) UK Hydrogen Futures to 2050, Tyndall Centre Working Paper 46 Berkhout, F., Hertin, J. and Gann, D. M., (2004) Learning to adapt: Organisational adaptation to climate change impacts, Tyndall Centre Working Paper 47 Pan, H. (2004) The evolution of economic structure under technological development, Tyndall Centre Working Paper 48 Awerbuch, S. (2004) Restructuring our electricity networks to promote decarbonisation, Tyndall Centre Working Paper 49 Powell, J.C., Peters, M.D., Ruddell, A. & Halliday, J. (2004) Fuel Cells for a Sustainable Future? Tyndall Centre Working Paper 50

Agnolucci, P., Barker, T. & Ekins, P. (2004) Hysteresis and energy demand: the Announcement Effects and the effects of the UK climate change levy Tyndall Centre Working Paper 51 Agnolucci, P. (2004) Ex post evaluations of CO2 –Based Taxes: A Survey Tyndall Centre Working Paper 52 Agnolucci, P. & Ekins, P. (2004) The Announcement Effect and environmental taxation Tyndall Centre Working Paper 53 Turnpenny, J., Carney, S., Haxeltine, A., & O’Riordan, T. (2004) Developing regional and local scenarios for climate change mitigation and adaptation, Part 1: A framing of the East of England Tyndall Centre Working Paper 54 Mitchell, T.D. Carter, T.R., Jones, .P.D, Hulme, M. and New, M. (2004) A comprehensive set of high-resolution grids of monthly climate for Europe and the globe: the observed record (1901-2000) and 16 scenarios (2001-2100), Tyndall Centre Working Paper 55 Vincent, K. (2004) Creating an index of social vulnerability to climate change for Africa, Tyndall Centre Working Paper 56 Shackley, S., Reiche, A. and Mander, S (2004) The Public Perceptions of Underground Coal Gasification (UCG): A Pilot Study, Tyndall Centre Working Paper 57