Residents’ fury over ‘bangs’ caused by testing

A security guard from Halite stood on Back Lane in Preesall.

A security guard from Halite stood on Back Lane in Preesall.

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Furious residents today told how loud bangs and shaking ornaments sparked by seismic testing are causing misery for neighbours living near the River Wyre.

One Fleetwood resident says he is constantly being interrupted by ‘explosions’ while gas storage company Halite performs exploratory tests along the Wyre estuary.

The survey is being carried out ahead of controversial plans to store millions of tonnes of gas under the Wyre.

But John Mole, of Voyager Way, Fleetwood, says they are causing a nuisance to those living nearby.

He said: “In the leaflets they sent us they described it as being a few dull thuds, but it sounds like controlled explosions.

“When they get level we can feel things shaking, it’s really unpleasant and sometimes it goes on for a few hours at a time.

“It’s not like you can just hear it, you can feel everything vibrate.”

Mr Mole, who lives with his wife Laura, claims the testing is also going on until 8pm or 9pm.

Halite does not currently have planning permission to store the gas at Preesall as it is waiting for the result of a judicial review over the planning inspectorate’s refusal to allow it.

But it is allowed to carry out the tests while the review is pending.

Coun Ron Shewan, who represents Fleetwood East on Lancashire County Council, says he has also been made aware of the problem.

He said: “People are having to put up with these tests and there are some quite substantial bangs.

“I can understand people getting upset and expressing their annoyance.

“I’m going down to County Hall and I’ll be asking some questions.”

As part of the seismic work, security personnel have been drafted in to keep guard on the area all day, every day.

People living around the test site said they noticed men in florescent jackets standing at junctions around the test area from last Saturday, before the testing started.

Coun Phil Orme, a Preesall Town Councillor from Knott End, says he has received around half a dozen complaints about the work so far.

He said: “If you didn’t know better you’d think there was an artillery range over the hill.

“We live on a platform of clay at this end of the village and with the dry weather you can feel it under your feet, the lady next door thought her roof was coming in.”

June Jackson, a campaigner against Halite’s plans, said at the time: “These security people are positioned at most of the road junctions in the area.

“We’ve heard there will be 15 of them, working two shifts to cover 24/7 in all weather.

“It’s rather over the top and to be quite honest I feel sorry for these poor guys.

“It must be incredibly unpleasant.”

Work ‘meets industry standards’ says Halite

The work is being undertaken by TESLA, on behalf of Halite.

Keith Budinger, chief executive of Halite, said: “TESLA works to very strict industry standards to establish safe distances from properties to minimise any risk of damage and ensure that the work is carried out within agreed tolerances.

“We are surprised that The Gazette has received a complaint about the timing of the testing.

“TESLA keeps stringent records to monitor daily activity; TESLA’s working hours are dictated by the tide times affecting the Wyre Estuary and no work is being carried out between dusk and daybreak.

“We have received one inquiry from a member of the public in connection with this issue and, following monitoring of the vibrations in the vicinity of her home, have reassured her that the tests are being undertaken within agreed tolerances, which she was happy with. We have received no reports of ornaments falling off walls or similar incidents.”

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