Protestors step up gas storage battle

Over Wyre residents show their opposition to the Halite gas storage proposals.
Over Wyre residents show their opposition to the Halite gas storage proposals.

CAMPAIGNERS are stepping up their bid to stop plans to store gas in underground caverns close to Fleetwood.

Members of the Protect Wyre Group are delivering leaflets in Fleetwood and other areas of Wyre in a bid to make one final effort to halt the controversial proposals.

After two rejections of plans by Canatxx, its successor company Halite Energy has lodged a slimmed-down’ version with the Independent Planning Commission.

Halite now wants to create up to 19 purpose-built caverns in the salt field at Preesall.

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

Residents are now preparing a ‘vigorous opposition’ to the proposals which they believe have not answered their concerns.

Howard Phillips, of the Protect Wyre Group, said: “Our group, made up of residents’ groups on both sides of the Wyre, will be mounting a vigorous opposition to these proposals which we believe have not answered the concerns of the residents expressed in the previous three applications for gas storage in the area.

“Halite wishes to wash out the salt bed to create 19 new caverns, this compares with 20 caverns proposed by Canatxx and rejected in 2007 after a Public Inquiry.

“An average of 10,000 people objected each time to the previous applications and we are urging everyone to make a last final effort by objecting to this, the fourth application.”

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The Protect Wyre Group will be delivering letters to every home within three miles of the proposed gas caverns.

Volunteers are required to deliver leaflets in Fleetwood, Cleveleys, Anchorsholme, Norbreck, Thornton, Poulton and Over Wyre.

Fleetwood Civic Society are among those who have joined forces with the Protect Wyre Group to protest against the gas plans.

Society chairman Margaret Daniels has warned Fleetwood residents not to be complacent.

Some residents in the town still see the issue as an Over Wyre problem.

But Mrs Daniels recently warned that the gas storage site is a lot closer to Fleetwood than many people in the town think.

Confirmation the IPC has accepted Halite’s plans for discussion came just before Christmas.

The application is now in the pre-examination’ phase of the IPC process where residents can express an interest.

The IPC will hold a preliminary meeting at least six weeks after February 10 to discuss how the application will be examined.

A six month examination period will then begin before the final decision is made later this year.

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