Underground coal gasification (UGC) is to be banned in Scotland, the Scottish Government has confirmed.

Energy minister Paul Wheelhouse announced the move in a statement to MSPs at Holyrood following the submission of an independent review by Professor Campbell Gemmell.

The Scottish Government imposed a moratorium on UGC in October last year to consider the impact of the technique, which produces gas from underground coal seams.

Mr Wheelhouse said: "Having considered the report in detail, it is the Scottish Government's view that UCG poses numerous and serious environmental risks, and on that basis the Scottish Government cannot support this technology.

"Accordingly, UCG will have no place in Scotland's energy mix at this time."

The Scottish Government's wider moratorium on unconventional oil and gas extraction, including fracking, remains in place.

The announcement was made the same day as the UK Government gave the go-ahead for fracking at a site in Lancashire, overturning the county council's decision on the scheme.

Energy firm Cluff Natural Resources had been planning to use UCG to extract gas from under the Firth of Forth near Kincardine, Fife, and had secured licences from the UK Government's Coal Authority.

The company halted work on the project last year until the political debate on the issue was resolved.

UCG licences in the Firth of Forth and Solway Firth were also held by firm Five Quarter, although the company collapsed earlier this year.

Mr Wheelhouse told MSPs he had written to the UK Government requesting that no further UCG licences were issued for Scotland and that existing licences are revoked.

He said: "On potential impact from UCG, Professor Gemmell's report makes a number of observations which I believe raise serious concerns over the future of this industry in Scotland.

"Firstly, there are very few comprehensive or peer-reviewed studies examining environmental and health impacts, where impacts have been documented these have been from trials rather than from full commercial scale activity.

"Where the industry has operated, which is typically at a pilot or trial scale, there is emerging evidence of significant environmental impacts.

"This includes soil contamination and exposure of workers to toxins resulting from major operation failures, a number of failures in Australia have resulted in prosecutions being brought.

"Professor Gemmell also raises concerns that the current regulatory framework is insufficiently clear and would need to be improved to protect the environment, public health and workers' health and safety."

Quoting from the report from Prof Gemmell, former chief executive of environmental agency Sepa, Mr Wheelhouse said he had concluded that "climate change and de-carbonisation targets would be very seriously impacted by unmitigated releases of UCG greenhouse gases if operated at scale, making the achievement of current or stronger commitments much more difficult, if not impossible".

Mr Wheelhouse added: "Professor Gemmell also concludes that a step change in the availability of robust data and science would need to take place before the technology could be reliably assessed."

He quoted from the report's conclusions that it would be "wise to consider an approach to this issue based upon a precautionary presumption" and it would appear logical to "progress towards a ban".

The energy minister said the government would therefore develop and consult on an energy strategy for Scotland "which will set out an energy mix for the future that does not include underground coal gasification".

He concluded: "It is a matter of great regret that this parliament does not have the necessary powers over the licencing regime for UCG.

"The Scottish Government therefore intends to continue to use the planning powers available to us to ensure UCG applications do not receive planning or environmental permission

"I cannot predict what kind of clean-energy technologies may be available in the decades to come, but what is certain is that this this coal resource will still be here.

"The position I have announced today on UCG is a clear validation of the evidence-based approach this government is taking."

On the separate issue of fracking, Mr Wheelhouse said the final reports from independent projects commissioned by ministers to examine unconventional oil and gas would be published after the October parliamentary recess, to be followed by a period of public consultation over winter 2016/17.

The decision was welcomed by many MSPs at Holyrood, with Green politician Mark Ruskell claiming the Government's stance "validates the concerns of communities around the Firth of Forth and Solway" and other parts of Scotland where UCG developments could have gone ahead.

Mr Ruskell said: "Concerns that have been rubbished by an aggressive industry over many years are now endorsed by this Parliament. Their voices have been heard."

Liberal Democrat energy spokesman Liam McArthur also backed the move, saying: "The last thing we need is to open a new front for carbon emissions.

"Allowing unconventional coal gasification to become part of our energy mix at this stage would have been a backward step as we work to cut emissions.

"Boosting our renewable sector in the face of Tory cuts should be the priority."

He added: "This announcement was the right decision for communities around Scotland. Now we need the government to quickly finish their work on unconventional oil and gas so we can end the uncertainty and take fracking off the table too."

Labour's Claudia Beamish urged ministers to apply the same principles to fracking as they had to UCG.

"Surely, minister, a similar principle applies to all forms of unconventional oil and gas extraction," she said.

"The Parliament has already raised concerns about unconventional oil and gas extraction.

"Will the Scottish Government now respect the will of the Scottish Parliament and introduce an outright ban immediately on all forms of unconventional gas extraction?"

Tory MSPs said they were "disappointed" by the decision.

Murdo Fraser said the Government's own website has said until recently that ministers were "supportive" of innovative technologies and added that previous energy minister Fergus Ewing had said last year that "we should never close our minds to the potential opportunities of new technologies".

The Conservative asked Mr Wheelhouse if he recognised the "dismay of many in industry that the open mind of Fergus Ewing has been replaced with his closed mind".