Group keeps up pressure over coastal gas extraction

Friends of the Earth protesting outside the Newcastle headquarters of Five Quarter.
Friends of the Earth protesting outside the Newcastle headquarters of Five Quarter.

An environmental group is continuing its protests against plans for large-scale gas extraction off the north Northumberland coast.

As reported by the Gazette, Alnwick Area Friends of the Earth held a public meeting in the town in June this year to debate the proposals for the extraction of unconventional gas from rocks deep below the North Sea by a Newcastle energy company, Five-Quarter, via its technology called deep gas winning.

The well-attended meeting was addressed by Five-Quarter board director Professor Paul Younger, a world–leading expert in hydrogeology and environmental engineering, and Simon Bowens, North East campaigner for National Friends of the Earth.

Last week, Friends of the Earth activists from throughout the North East celebrated a successful conference by gathering at Five-Quarter‘s offices on Newcastle’s Quayside to highlight objections to the ‘latest form of dirty energy to threaten the North East coastline’.

The group claims there is ‘strong opposition to an experimental scheme to burn millions of tons of coal under the North-East coast, starting from Alnwick in the north and stretching all the way to Sunderland in the south’.

Friends of the Earth’s North East campaigner, Simon Bowens, said: “The North East has already suffered from a legacy of exploitation.

“This experimental scheme, which claims to inject pollutants back into the ground, risks leaving generations to come with another pollution headache.

“Additionally, the burning of this fossil fuel will only add more climate-changing gases to our atmosphere.”

But at the June meeting, Professor Younger was keen to distinguish between his firm’s methods and underground coal gasification (UCG), adding that only steam and oxygen go into the ground, unlike with fracking.

He also said that that Five-Quarter plans to use the gas as a feedstock for the chemical industry, primarily on Teesside, not for generating electricity.