CONCERNS about the possibility of coal "gasification" taking place off the Wirral coast will be discussed at a community meeting this weekend.

Margaret Greenwood, Labour's parliamentary candidate for Wirral West, met with residents in West Kirby to discuss the licence for Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) that was awarded to Cluff Natural Resources last January.

The licence – which covers more than 6,900 hectares of the Dee Estuary – could see a UCG plant built off the coast of West Kirby.

The process involves igniting underground coal reserves in order to generate gas for energy use.

But the potential siting of such a plant in Wirral has proved controversial, with many concerned it will cause damage to the local environment, including Hilbre Island.

Ms Greenwood told the Globe: “It is important that the local people are made aware of the risks involved in UCG.

“That is why we are calling a community meeting.

“The members of the public that we have spoken with were very concerned indeed – this is clearly an important issue for local people.

“The meeting is open to all, regardless of people’s political views, and I am keen to hear the views of local people on this matter.”

The meeting will take place at 1.30pm, on Saturday, February 1, in the small hall of United Reformed Church, Meols Drive, West Kirby.