MPs’ fury at Halite’s new gas plan bid

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Wyre and Preston North MP Ben Wallace is on the warpath over the announcement that gas storage firm Halite is set to continue its bid to store gas under the River Wyre.

It was announced last week that the company would be allowed to proceed with a hearing which could see it launch a new bid to carry out its plans in Over Wyre.

Halite wanted to store 900 million cubic metres of natural gas in 19 salt caverns under the River Wyre, but its proposals were rejected this April
by the Department of Energy and Climate Change – despite the Planning Inspectorate
recommending approval.

However, the firm has now received permission from the High Court to go forward with a judicial review, which will challenge the decision to turn down planning consent.

The process will not overturn the Government’s decision, but it could be quashed and the DECC would have to consider the plans again.

When Halite decided to proceed with a judicial review in May it claimed the decision was “flawed”.

But a furious Mr Wallace said: “Halite/Canatxx seems intent on piling the misery on local people, despite being told many times that the salt caverns under the River Wyre are not suitable for storing tons of natural gas, the latest time by the Secretary of State.

“This is yet more proof that this company has little regard for the opinions of local people, who overwhelmingly oppose gas storage.

“This saga has been going on far too long and I sincerely hope the judicial review will come to the correct decision and that local residents can at last move on.”

Lancaster MP Eric Ollerenshaw said: “I am deeply unhappy that, once again, we are faced with further months of uncertainty over the issue of Halite and its plans.

“This proposal has been rejected three times, but Halite refuses to accept this and appears to carry on regardless of the wishes of local people.”

Keith Budinger, of Halite, said: “As this matter remains the subject of legal proceedings Halite does not intend to comment at this stage.”