SNP members are set to tell their party leadership to block a method of extracting gas by burning coal underground, as the tycoon who plans to exploit the controversial technique revealed that he is considering a bid to bypass Scottish planning laws.

The draft agenda for the SNP's upcoming conference in October, which has been sent out to members, includes a resolution from the Leith branch that asks ministers to consider extending a moratorium on unconventional oil and gas developments to underground coal gasification (UCG) projects. It also calls on the Scottish Government to "reaffirm its commitment to reduce the use of fossil fuels in its energy mix".

More radical motions on the issue, such as one put forward by the SNP's trade union branch which called for a total ban on unconventional oil and gas developments including fracking, have been left off the draft agenda which is decided by an internal party committee.

Lang Banks, the director of WWF Scotland, said: "Should the motion on underground coal gasification make it to the final conference agenda, then I strongly believe it will be passed, if not amended to make it even stronger. However, even without such a motion, the fact remains that there are no technical reasons why Scottish Ministers could not simply extend their moratorium to include UCG right now."

Cluff Natural Resources is pushing ahead with plans for a large-scale UCG project in the Firth of Forth, initially near Kincardine. SNP ministers have assured the firm that the technique, which sees coal set alight underground and gas extracted to the surface, is not covered by a moratorium announced in January but if the motion is voted through at conference it will increase pressure for a u-turn.

Alex Salmond has previously spoken out in support of UCG, but many SNP members and environmentalists are vehemently opposed and would like the party to take a tougher stance.

Algy Cluff, the businessman behind the plans, has said that he may move the project entirely offshore in a bid to get around planning laws. Currently, the project would require onshore infrastructure, meaning the Scottish Government and councils have the power to block the proposals.

He said: "We could go offshore to establish this and avoid dealing with [Scottish Government or local authority] planning permission. We're doing the figures now for offshore and it would only increase our costs a little."

There is no mention of the timing of a second independence referendum in the SNP conference draft agenda. However a resolution which states that "Scotland cannot be dragged out of Europe against its will" will reinforce the view that the EU referendum is a potential trigger for a second independence vote.

Of the other resolutions on the draft agenda, one states that Scotland "is in a pivotal position in the international campaign to eliminate nuclear weapons". Another, put forward by the SNP's Newington and Southside branch, "notes with concern recent developments regarding governance of the BBC" and calls for the devolution of broadcasting to Holyrood.

An SNP spokeswoman said: "The SNP is a party of open and democratic debate. The final agenda for our conference in October (15-17th) will be agreed and published in due course."