Green Party hits back at coal gas plan

South Tyneside Green Party member David Herbert.
South Tyneside Green Party member David Herbert.

A Green Party member has hit back at a South Tyneside councillor’s claims that drilling for underground coal gas in the borough could be environmentally-friendly.

David Herbert, a mining engineer and member of the South Tyneside Green Party and NUNE – No Underground Coal Gasification North East – says that Coun John McCabe’s comments about the Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) process are “wrong in so many ways”.

Large quantities of heavily polluted waste water and toxic materials will be produced which will have to be transported for treatment and disposal by tankers resulting in increased heavy vehicle movements around industrial sites such as drilling rigs, process plants and power plants blighting our beautiful coastline.

David Herbert, Green Party member

The Labour representative for the Hebburn South ward, and a mining engineer, said that South Tyneside could be the new Aberdeen if it could get the industry up and running

But Mr Herbert said: “For a start this is a fossil fuel that will produce a massive amount of climate-changing greenhouse gas that scientists state must not be burned if future generations are to avoid catastrophic weather events and flooding from a rising sea levels.

“What we are talking about is an underground coke works producing vast amounts of toxic and carcinogenic gases materials. The old Monkton cokeworks site when it closed was a severely polluted industrial area that is still today venting poisonous gases from underground.

“UCG would be extremely hazardous, resulting in air polluted with a mix of toxic gases, heavy metals and particulates.

“Large quantities of heavily polluted waste water and toxic materials will be produced which will have to be transported for treatment and disposal by tankers resulting in increased heavy vehicle movements around industrial sites such as drilling rigs, process plants and power plants blighting our beautiful coastline.”