Page last updated at 18:46 GMT, Tuesday, 15 January 2013

'Several centuries of coal reserves' - Ingram

SNP MSP Adam Ingram said that "Scotland still has several centuries worth of mineable coal reserves", on 15 January 2013.

Mr Ingram said the potential would be unlocked with clean coal technologies, such as carbon capture.

He was leading a member's debate on the importance of the coal industry, which he considers has been and remains a significant contributor to local and rural economies in East Ayrshire, Fife, South Lanarkshire, Dumfries and Galloway, North Lanarkshire, Midlothian and West Lothian.

The Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley MSP said together with investment in renewables "Scotland could be a world leader in creating a low carbon future".

In his motion the MSP said the industry is a mainstay occupation in the Scottish economy generating £450 million of economic value to Scotland every year and with its wider supply chain employing on average 4,000 people.

He welcomed the fact that two Scottish projects are being considered to take forward the next phase of the UK government's £1 billion carbon capture and storage programme to demonstrate the potential to greatly reduce the carbon impact of fossil fuel power generation as Scotland moves to a low-carbon future.

The SNP MSP is concerned that future investment in the industry is being threatened by an adverse and unintended effect of the carbon reduction commitment and proposals by the Office of the Rail Regulator to hike freight access charges for Scottish coal producers.

Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said he was "well aware of the important role" the coal industry plays in the rural and wider economy of Scotland

Mr Ewing said he recognised that open cast mining played "a very very important part in our energy mix".

He said he believes "there is a good strong future for the open cast mining industry in Scotland".

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