DCSIMG

Leader opens door to fracking future

Cuadrillas site at Preese Hall and (below) Coun Peter Gibson.

Cuadrillas site at Preese Hall and (below) Coun Peter Gibson.

A council leader has refused to rule out giving companies the green light to fracking plans if it could be proved the process is safe.

In a row over bringing jobs to Wyre at the authority’s full council meeting, Coun Peter Gibson was asked to give his views on the controversial hydraulic drilling procedure and Halite Energy Group’s plans to store gas underground in Over Wyre by leader of the opposition, Coun Penny Martin.

While Coun Gibson has consistently gone on the record to slam Halite’s 10-year battle to win approval for their plans, the Tory councillor believes fracking could create job opportunities.

Coun Gibson said: “In terms of jobs and economic growth, I hear things from Labour that say ‘I want jobs and economic growth’, but they are against fracking.

“If (fracking) is found to be safe there’s a great opportunity for Lancashire, this area and the country, but Labour say ‘we don’t want these jobs’.”

Coun Gibson was also asked for his views on Halite Energy Group’s plans to store gas in 19 caverns underneath fields in Over Wyre.

He added: “If the two come together and fracking was safe and economically beneficial to the country we would look at that, but I couldn’t see myself in any situation looking at gas storage.”

Speaking after the meeting, Coun Martin said: “My concern is would he change his mind on fracking if we had gas storage The two together would be a perfect storm.

“I still have major concerns with regulations on fracking in terms of the environmental impact and on the roads, and I don’t know how many jobs it would bring to the area.”

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