More questions on ‘mystery’ blast

Keith Budinger, new boss of Halite

Keith Budinger, new boss of Halite

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ANTI-gas store campaigners have lodged a Freedom of Information request to find out the cost of this summer’s police probe into the brinewell blast at Preesall.

The Protect Wyre Group wants to know how much the investigation prompted by Halite Energy’s claims of an alleged sabotage attack on the disused brinewell near Back Lane, Preesall, cost.

Ian MMulroy

Ian MMulroy

The area was the scene of the blast on June 18 which sent tonnes of salty mud, geyser-like on a field and country lane.

Writing in the current issue of Focus magazine, PWG chamirman Ian Mulroy says the pressure group wants to know “more information, including what sort of costs have been incurred and who is paying for the exercise - Halite or the good old taxpayer?”

Mr Mulroy, writing after the police investigation found no evidence either way on the sabotage claims, says questions remain unanswered, is concerned that Halite is continuing to withold its evidence from the public.

He writes: “What doesn’t stack up is why Halite doesn’t want to say what the ‘compelling’ evidence was that caused them to belatedly go to the police.”

He says the generally held opinion in the area is that the incident was not sabotage, but geological forces, given the areas history of unstable geology caused by former ICI salt workings.

He accuses the company of “very selective reporting” in its interim report, and of playing a “cloak and dagger” game with local residents, saying “if there is evidence of a crime, the residents and farmers have a right to know what sort of threat they might be exposed to.”

He adds: “Either there is a quantifiable level of danger and probability that further sabotage might take place or there isn’t. It’s as simple as that and a full disclosure cannot be injurious to any future developments.”

He added: “Halite’s mantra that ‘Safety and security remain our number one priority’ is wearing extremely thin and this ‘secret’ investigation appears to be being used as a reason for the non-disclosure of key facts.”

Keith Budinger, boss of Halite (formerly Canatxx) has told Mr Mulroy: “It is not possible to share further details of the evidence publicly as, should further information come to light, the police investigations will be re-opened.”

Halite says its full technical assessment can be viewed and downloaded from its website at www.halite-energy.co.uk.

• Halite’s view of what happened, see page 11, Courier comment, page six.