‘Explosion’ fears over gas plan

Crowds in Blackpool '''for the Bank Holiday weekend.'Promenade / golden mile / view
Crowds in Blackpool '''for the Bank Holiday weekend.'Promenade / golden mile / view

A TOP company has demanded answers over fears a controversial gas storage project under the River Wyre could trigger “explosions” in Blackpool’s holiday heartland.

United Utilities (UU) has raised concerns over gas escaping into a nine-mile underground sewage tunnel which runs from South Shore to Fleetwood.

It says Halite’s plans for gas storage in Over Wyre “potentially puts at risk both UU’s assets and properties/hotels in close proximity to the (sewage) tunnel and the coastline.”

UU is now seeking assurances from Halite over the plan to store 900 million cubic metres of gas in salt caverns near Preesall – formerly proposed by American company Canatxx.

In a document sent to Halite, UU say: “A key concern of the proposed development would be to ensure our wastewater assets remained well protected from any gas leakage which would occur through the fissured ground strata believed to exist underneath Wyre Estuary. The developer would have to satisfy sufficient investigation had been done to assure the development would not increase the risk of future explosions of gas impacting on the treatment facilities.

“This would also apply to the Fylde Coast Interceptor (sewage) Tunnel which runs the whole length of the Fylde coast from Manchester Square headland at the southern end of the Golden Mile, along the front up to Rossall School.”

Brian Stanley, safety and risk director at Halite Energy, said: “We spoke to UU in September last year as part of the consultation process.

“All risks have been considered and are addressed within our application which is now with the Planning Inspectorate for examination.”