Gas ruling ‘will result in misery’

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The ruling leading to a review of a bid to store 600 million cubic metres of natural gas in Lancashire will cause “unacceptable” anxiety and misery to residents, an MP claimed today.

Halite Energy had been refused planning permission for the underground site at Preesall, near Preston, in a long-running battle with council planners and residents.

But the High Court ruled that Energy Secretary Edward Davey was wrong when he refused to allow consent for the project in April last year.

Preston North and Wyre Conservative MP Ben Wallace said the community were opposed to the idea. He said: “I share the frustration of many local residents, who, for many years have fought this company in one form or another.

“At the Judicial Review the judge said, ‘Too high a threshold had been imposed on the company when it came to assessing the viability of the project and the geological challenges it faced’.

“I disagree, you can never put too high a threshold on the safety of the community.

“Halite/Canatxx has never proved gas storage under Wyre will be safe, despite years of trying.

“Again, this decision will cause anxiety and misery to many residents in the area which in my opinion is unacceptable.”

Halite had attacked the Government decision as “irrational and perverse”’ and triumphed when Mrs Justice Paterson ruled that it had not been fairly treated.

Ordering a full reconsideration of Halite’s planning applicaiton, the judge, sitting in London, said too high a threshold had been imposed on the company when it came to assessing the viability of the project and the geological challenges it faced.