Fears raised over gas storage

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FEARS that residents would not be able to escape a gas explosion if a storage facility malfunctioned have been raised during a hearing before a planning agency.

Stalmine neighbours living close to fields where the firm Halite plan to store gas underground said the company would open “Pandora’s Box” if the plans were given the green light.

Concerned members of the village raised the points during one of a series of meetings chaired by the Planning Inspectorate.

Knott End resident Roy Pickle said: “I hope someone can end this 10-year nightmare because as far as I can see once Pandora’s Box is opened there will be some unmanageable problems.

“If there’s an accident on the Shard Bridge when people are trying to get out they will be trapped for hours.”

The meetings have come at the end of a six-month hearing process to address the problems residents have with Halite building the facility in Preesall.

Michael Tucker, of Carr End Lane, Stalmine, also attended the meeting.

He added: “This is not in the national interest because we have a store which can be used in an emergency.

“It’s going to be used as a trading facility and if the price goes up they will trade with this site.

Speaking to The Gazette after the meeting, Norma Horne, of Pilling Lane, Stalmine, said: “How are emergency services going to get over here and how are we going to get out when something happens?”

Eric Ollerenshaw, MP for Fleetwood and Lancaster, also addressed the Planning Inspectorate.

He added: “I am opposing this on the same lines the previous ones have been opposed.

“The main planning reason is they need a national site for storage but when you look, the need is going down.

“There are still a lot of questions to answer.”

Keith Budinger, chief executive of Halite Energy, said: “After listening to their questions and queries and carrying out extensive tests and surveys, we are confident we can deliver a safe and reliable underground gas storage facility.

“Our assessment of the geology of the area, demonstrates the Preesall salt field is appropriate.”

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