Group vows to spread message of opposition to brine scheme in Fleetwood

The latest Brinewatch session in Cleveleys
The latest Brinewatch session in Cleveleys
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A group which aims to challenge what it calls an impending environmental disaster off Rossall says it is building up greater opposition to the scheme it says its behind the risk.

The brine deposits - at the rate of 80,000 cubic metres every day for 10 years - are to be pumped out of a purpose built pipe, one-and-a-half miles out to sea, as part of the equally controversial £660 million gas storage scheme being developed at Preesall by energy firm Halite.

BrineWatch says the brine deposits, which would be pumped into the sea off Rossall, have the potential to kill marine life in the immediate area around the pipe, creating a knock-on effect on the food chain.

However, Halite says the process will be safe and subjected to intense monitoring.

BrineWatch staged a meeting on Wednesday, at Cleveleys Community Centre, on Kensington Road, to members of Rossall Beach Residents and Community Group.

Ken Harcombe, spokesman for BrineWatch who gave the presentation, said: "We are getting the message across to different groups of people across the Fylde coast and we had more than 40 at the latest meeting.

"We have also managed to recruit additional help, including a geologist and Greenpeace.

"It is still surprising that not everyone on the Fylde coast is aware of the brine scheme, even now.

"People are shocked at what is being planned."

Halite’s energy scheme will see 900 million cubic metres of gas being stored in salt cavers under the River Wyre at high pressure, and displaced salt will be carried along the pipe in water taken from the Fish Dock and deposited into the sea as brine.

As part of its ongoing activities, BrineWatch placed a bright red buoy directly where the pipe will empty, to help pinpoint exactly where monitoring needs to take place.

Drilling of the salt caverns and laying of the brine outfall pipe is expected to begin in the summer of 2020.

Mr Harcombe added that there were other other gas storage proposals planned at Islandmagee in Northern Ireland and in Cheshire which could have a bearing on the Fleetwood scheme.

The project has been opposed by both Fleetwood's Labour MP Cat Smith and Conservative MP for Blackpool North and Cleveleys, Paul Maynard.

But Halite chief executive Keith Budinger says the brine proposals has been given the green light by the Environment Agency, Natural England, and the Marine Management Organisation, and says similar projects in other parts of the world have not caused problems.

He adds that the gas storage scheme itself and and the brine operation will be carried out to exacting specifications.