Gas storage decision after the election

Decision day soon - will it be 'yes'  for gas storage in 2013?
Decision day soon - will it be 'yes' for gas storage in 2013?
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A decision on a controversial bid to store gas in caverns under the River Wyre is now expected to be delayed until after the General Election.

Halite Energy Group is awaiting a Government ruling on whether it can go ahead with plans to store 900 million 
cubic metres of gas in salt caverns at Preesall.

There is no statutory timescale for a decision to be made in.

But now a letter sent out to interested parties at the end of March by Giles Scott from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) says: “A decision is not expected to be made on the application until early in the next Parliament.”

Campaigners who have been battling to prevent gas storage for around a decade said they were disappointed by the delay, but not surprised.

Michael Jeynes, of Acres Lane, Preesall, whose home is one of the closest to the proposed storage site, said: “It just shows the contempt they hold the local population in – nobody seems to care that we have been working for years now to fight this.

“We are disappointed there is another delay in coming to a decision.

“We don’t want gas storage to happen but it’s about time it was sorted out.”

A spokesman for Halite said they did not want to comment.

Halite’s proposals follow three failed attempts by its predecessor, Canatxx, to 
secure permission to store gas.

Protesters thought the proposals had been abandoned when DECC refused the Halite scheme in 2013, citing geological and safety concerns.

But in January 2014 the energy firm, which says the project will provide up to 300 construction jobs and 45 
operational posts, won a decision to force DECC to look again.

A London court ruled Halite would be allowed to have its plans looked at again, quashing the DECC’s decision not to give planning consent.

The judgment said too high a threshold had been imposed on the company when it came to assessing the viability of the project and geological challenges it faced.

The DECC considered appealing the decision, but in April last year did a U-turn.

In the last 10 years, campaigners have gathered thousands of names for a petition each time the plans were put forward.