The leader of Wyre Council has refused to rule out giving companies the green light to fracking plans – if it could be proved the process is safe.
In a row over bringing jobs to Wyre, Coun Peter Gibson was asked to give his views at the authority’s full council meeting on the controversial hydraulic drilling procedure and Halite Energy Group’s plans to store gas underground in Over Wyre.
The challenge came from Coun Penny Martin, leader of the opposition group on the council. While Coun Gibson has consistently gone on the record to criticise Halite’s 10-year battle to win approval for their plans, the Tory councillor said he believed fracking could create job opportunities.
Coun Gibson said: “In terms of jobs and economic growth, I hear things from Labour that say ‘I want jobs and economic growth’, but they are against fracking.
“If (fracking) is found to be safe there’s a great opportunity for Lancashire, this area and the country, but Labour say, ‘We don’t want these jobs’.”
When asked for his views on Halite Energy Group’s plans to store gas in 19 caverns underneath fields in Over Wyre.
He added: “If the two come together and fracking was safe and economically beneficial to the country we would look at that, but I couldn’t see myself in any situation looking at gas storage.”
Speaking after the meeting, Coun Martin said: “My concern is would he change his mind on fracking if we had gas storage?
“The two together would be a perfect storm. I still have major concerns with regulations on fracking in terms of the environmental impact and on the roads, and I don’t know how many jobs it would bring to the area.”