Safety fears over gas storage

Public hearing at the Marine Hall on Halite's plans to store gas under fields in Over Wyre.
Public hearing at the Marine Hall on Halite's plans to store gas under fields in Over Wyre.

CAMPAIGNERS against proposals for a controversial gas storage facility in Over Wyre have put their case to planning chiefs.

Members of the Protect Wyre Group (PWG) got their chance to address the Planning Inspectorate during a hearing at Marine Hall, Fleetwood, last night.

Halite energy hopes to construct the UK’s largest gas site under the Preesall countryside, should it be given the green light at the end of the six month planning hearing.

But PWG members spoke out against the scheme, describing Halite’s plans as “ill-conceived and ill-prepared”.

Malcolm Clegg, a Fleetwood resident of more than 70 years, was first to speak.

Mr Clegg, who said he has 14 years experience as fire safety manager at a major hazard site and has lectured on the subject at Loughborough University, said the plans were “totally inadequate in terms of safety and security” and “devoid of health and safety professionalism”.

He added: “Halite has produced a lower cost plan for the site by making inappropriate savings on safety provisions.

“The Titanic designers fell into the same trap.”

Howard Phillips, vice chair of PWG, told the inspectors more geological work needed to be done on the site.

He added: “We don’t know enough to have a clear idea of what the development will actually mean when it gets going.”

This is the fourth time Halite, which previously attempted a similar scheme as Canatxx, has attempted to gain permission to store gas on the site.

Preesall resident Ian Mulroy, chairman of PWG, said: “To all intents and purposes it’s the same scheme which has been turned down three times.

“The need is not proven, the suitability of the site is not proven, public safety is not proven and no comprehensive emergency plans are in place. It’s ill-conceived and ill-prepared.”

Residents can meet with the Planning Inspectorate from 2.30pm today, while MPs will get the chance to speak from 7.30pm.

More than 10,000 objections have been received from residents, included more than 4,000 by residents in Thornton and Cleveleys, 3,000 in Poulton, 2,000 in Fleetwood and around 320 in Blackpool.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Mulroy said: “We feel very confident there are so many shortcomings in the application and that we’ve put a very strong case to the inspectors. For the past 10 years we’ve put the same arguments forward for every one of the applications.

“The last three have been successfully opposed and we hope this one will be as well.”

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