Local MPs and campaigners have welcomed the decision to refuse Halite’s plans to store gas in underground caverns at Preesall, but the company has hinted that the fight may not be over yet.
Ben Wallace, MP for Wyre and Preston North, said: “This is great news for all residents.
“We have waited a very long time for NO to mean NO and this decision by the Minister is the right one. I have been fighting Halite/Canatxx since standing as a candidate before the 2005 elections and I have always known that gas storage at the proposed site had not been proved to be safe.
“I sincerely hope that this will bring the question of gas storage in the area to an end and that local residents can once again live without the cloud of gas storage hanging over them.”
Eric Ollerenshaw, MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood, said: “I am delighted at this result. It is a testament to the hard work and resilience of the local community – and especially the Protect Wyre Group. Their insistence that the unique local geology and close proximity to a large residential area set this site apart from others has been proven to be correct.
“I am glad to have played my part in the opposition, together with Ben and Paul Maynard, MP for Blackpool North. A united front has helped make the case.”
Wyre Council, too, welcomed the refusal. Chief executive Garry Payne said: “While permission was refused on the grounds of inadequate geological information and capacity of the scheme, the proposal would have resulted in significant and extensive industrial development in the open countryside.
“While we have supported, and will continue to support, appropriate development, growth, investment and job creation in the borough, impact upon the open countryside and our communities cannot be ignored. .”
But Halite chief executive Keith Budinger said: “Halite and its team of consultants have worked strenuously over the past three years, during which our application has been scrutinised through a rigorous planning process.
“We will now need time to examine the reasons behind the turn down carefully before deciding on our next steps.”