Protesters’ delight at Halite plan delay

Halites proposed gas storage  site on the River Wyre.
Halites proposed gas storage site on the River Wyre.

Campaigners against controversial plans to store gas under the River Wyre and discharge 80,000 cubic metres of brine into the sea a day off Fleetwood say they are encouraged by further delays to the scheme.

Members of Fleetwood Brine Watch and other groups say delays to ongoing plans by Halite suggest the company is experiencing problems with its proposals.

MP Cat Smith

MP Cat Smith

Halite declined to comment on the suggestions this week.

Among the changes to Halite’s timetable were missed meetings with key groups last month.

Halite was due to take representatives to the latest meeting of Community Liaison Panel, designed to keep local parties abreast of developments.

But Halite informed organisers it was unable to attend.

The company also missed a meeting of the Environment Agency’s marine monitoring group and told the EA that “progress with finalising survey method statements and methodologies are not at a position that will enable constructive discussion by the group”.

Steve Brown, from the Fleetwood Brinewatch campaign, said: “We welcome the news that Halite is having to reconsider their plans, this is good news for everybody in the region who has the wellbeing of our marine environment at heart”.

“Local people have always known that the site is unsuitable for a development of this kind. It looks like investors are realising this too.

“Meanwhile, the documents being submitted to Wyre on traffic, noise and the environment are showing the scale of the issues local people will have to deal with and how it will affect our environment. We have had around 15 years of this development hanging over our heads. It should be stopped.”

Fleetwood MP Cat Smith has been in touch with the Environment Agency and it has kept her informed of its dealings with Halite.

The MP also questions if there is a problem with its funders, but this Halite did not wish to comment on that either.

Halite’s plans

In January Halite confirmed construction of a brine outfall pipe is a year behind schedule.

Halite Energy says on-site preparation in Preesall will continue “in the first quarter of this year” as originally planned.

But the hold-up of the pipe, from which Halite will pump brine into Morecambe Bay as part of the process of drilling caverns into salt seams to store the gas, could delay the overall scheme.

Halite, intends to store 900 million cubic metres of gas in salt caverns under the River Wyre.