The Scottish Government has announced a moratorium on underground coal gasification (UCG).
This will allow the necessary time for “full and careful consideration of the potential impacts of this new technology”, which converts undergound coal into gas.
It will include a full public health impact assessment and work to strengthen planning guidance and environmental regulation.
It is separate to the existing moratorium on onshore unconventional oil and gas, including fracking, which was announced by the Scottish Government earlier this year.
Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said: “The studies announced today constitute an extremely thorough and wide-ranging examination of the potential impacts of unconventional oil and gas and underlines the Scottish Government policy of taking a precautionary, robust and evidence-based approach to this technology in stark contrast to the gung-ho approach of the UK Government.
“The public will understandably wish to study the outcome of the research process and thus the public consultation will not begin until the findings of the research process have been published.”