‘Gas job promises are just hot air...’

Site of the proposed Canatxx gas storage
Site of the proposed Canatxx gas storage

CAMPAIGNERS have rubbished claims that jobs created by a controversial gas storage company would benefit the unemployed on the Fylde coast.

A report into the Preesall scheme has revealed the plans by Halite Energy to store millions of tonnes of gas under fields Over Wyre will create 3,000 jobs in the UK.

Prepared by Manchester-based economists, Regeneris Consulting, the Preesall Gas Storage Economic Report claims that of the 3,000 jobs created, 17 per cent will be local.

But those against the scheme say the report is just the “same old Halite spin”.

Local campaigner June Jackson told The Gazette: “That 17 per cent is not a lot and they can’t even guarantee it will be that amount.

“Most of the people running this will be high-tech experts in their field.

“What the report doesn’t mention is the potential development sites which will be affected by the plans – this is the same old Halite spin.”

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The document, published this week, states the facility – planned to operate for at least 40 years – will represent a £660m investment in the UK.

It will create 35 operational jobs, which will be sourced in Lancashire, and will be supported by local contracts for maintenance and ongoing work.

Halite chairman Dr John Roberts said: “There is an urgent need to bring forward major infrastructure schemes such as the one we are proposing to stimulate growth and provide much needed jobs in the UK. Halite is absolutely committed to ensuring Lancashire benefits from the project.

“During the coming months we will be engaging with local businesses, schools, colleges, universities and a range of other stake-holders to explore every opportunity to generate jobs locally.”

Halite’s application is being examined by the Planning Inspectorate following which a final decision will be made on the project by the Secretary of State by April 2013. The proposal is for the development of up to 19 purpose-built caverns in the salt field at Preesall. Individually designed and constructed, the caverns would be used for the storage of thousands of tonnes of natural gas.

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