Gas storage firm ponders appeal bid

Anti gas storage campaigners celebrate their victory against Halite's bid to excavate caverns in their area. Pictured front is Councillor June Jackson.
Anti gas storage campaigners celebrate their victory against Halite's bid to excavate caverns in their area. Pictured front is Councillor June Jackson.
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A company prevented from storing gas under the Wyre countryside today said it has not ruled out appealing the decision.

Halite Energy Group has six weeks to consider its options after the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) blocked the plans in Preesall.

And today company bosses said they would study the findings of the DECC report before deciding whether to appeal.

The firm, which replaced the American company Canatxx, had submitted plans to carve out 19 caverns in the salt strata beneath Preesall to store 900 million cubic metres of natural gas.

But the DECC stopped it from going ahead because the project “failed to demonstrate the suitability of the site’s geology.” Campaigning residents who battled the plans had outlined 10 concerns around it, including the unstable geology of the Preesall salt and the potential for an explosion.

Keith Budinger, chief executive of Halite, said: “This outcome is made even more disappointing given the fact our application was recommended for approval by the Planning Inspectorate, who spent nine months rigorously examining our proposals and making their recommendations to the Secretary of State.

“This is compounded by the fact that we had secured Statements of Common Ground with Lancashire County Council and Wyre Council who both stated that they had no concerns regarding geology, including the location of the proposed gas storage caverns and the potential impact of any seismic activity.

“In fact, both organisations have stated that ‘the revised assessment by the applicant is sufficient to demonstrate there are salt deposits that could safely accommodate the creation of underground gas storage caverns’.

“Halite and its board 
continue to analyse the detail behind the decision, and we will consider our next course of action once this review has been completed.”

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