Firm presses on with gas plans after no legal challenge

Preesall site where Halite - formally Canatxx - plan to build the gas storage plant  / view gas storage Over Wyre
Preesall site where Halite - formally Canatxx - plan to build the gas storage plant / view gas storage Over Wyre

Another hurdle has been cleared by the company which is bidding to create a huge underground store for natural gas in Wyre.

Halite Energy wants to store up to 900 million cubic metres of gas in 19 salt caverns near Preesall.

Safety will always be our number one priority and we hope local residents, stakeholders and businesses will now work with us to ensure they benefit from the project

Keith Budinger, chief executive Halite Energy

The company said that, following the Development Consent Order issued by DECC on July 17 to allow the project to go ahead, no legal challenge has been made by opponents of the plans to call for a judicial review of the process of that decision.

That decision came after Halite – previously Cannatxx – forced a judicial review into the Government’s third rejection of the hugely-unpopular scheme.

The scheme could still have been refused, but energy minister Lord Bourne granted it permission, saying it would create up to 40 local jobs.

Halite said it was now continuing with work to take the project forward.

A spokesman said: “Halite confirms no legal challenge against the DCO was made within the six-week period when a judicial review claim could have been made.”

Keith Budinger, chief executive of Halite Energy, said: “After years of scrutiny to ensure our project meets the stringent planning standards, we are now looking forward to finally bringing the scheme to fruition.

“We listened to the views of the community during the consultation period and will continue to engage with residents as the project moves from consent to construction.

“Safety will always be our number one priority and we hope local residents, stakeholders and businesses will now work with us to ensure they benefit from the project.”

But campaigners against the controversial project say the news did not mean the scheme would go ahead as other similar gas stores have had permission granted but have not gone ahead due to lack of funding and demand.

The Protect Wyre Group said a report by the Synergy Group for the Government cast doubt on the scale and viability of the scheme.

It said: “It remains a fact that Senergy considers there is a 5.8 per cent chance of Halite achieving 300mcm of working gas which is greatly at odds with Halite’s claim that this scheme will add 20 per cent to the nation’s storage capacity.”

Preesall farmer June Jackson said: “If the development went ahead, it would have a dramatic impact on local communities.

“The east side of the Wyre Estuary is a location abundant in flora and fauna.”

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