Gas scheme debate all set to continue

A public meeting at Wyre Football Club between Halite, campaigners and residents.
A public meeting at Wyre Football Club between Halite, campaigners and residents.

CONTROVERSIAL gas storage plans for a site close to Fleetwood have taken a small step further along the application process.

Halite Energy, the successor to the rejected Canatxx scheme, has lodged a smaller version of the scheme with the Independent Planning Commission.

The IPC accepted Halite’s plans for discussion just before Christmas.

Now the application will move into the ‘pre-examination’ phase of the IPC decision making process.

Halite will publish notices in local and national newspapers explaining how and when people can register interest in the application and make formal representations to the IPC.

Halite wants to create up to 19 purpose-built caverns in the salt field at Preesall, just across the River Wyre from Fleetwood.

The caverns would be used for the storage of up to 900 million cubic metres of natural gas, including 600 million cubic metres of working gas – a figure significantly less than Canatxx plans between 2005 and 2009.

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Welcoming the application acceptance Halite’s chief executive, Keith Budinger, said: “The announcement from the IPC marks an important step forward for our proposed Project.

“An underground gas storage facility at Preesall would provide much needed security of energy supply for the whole country.

“Its strategic location, at such close proximity to the National Transmission System at Nateby, means that gas would be easily and readily available to the National Grid for distribution throughout the country at times of fluctuating demand.”

The formal consultation included a series of public exhibitions, which were attended by over 350 members of the local community.

Community leaders, including Fleetwood’s MP Eric Ollerenshaw, officials of the Protect Wyre Group and Fleetwood Civic Society, have vowed to continue opposing the gas store plans.

Margaret Daniels, chairman of the Civic Society which has vigorously opposed previous gas storage plans, told the Weekly News: “Although this scheme is smaller, we will still do all we can to oppose it, along with the Protect Wyre Group.

“This scheme is nearer to Fleetwood than a lot of people in this town think.”

The detailed application has been published on the IPC website.

Printed copies will be available for inspection at venues including the offices of Halite Energy, Wyre Council and Lancashire County Council and local libraries.