Underground gas storage plans rejected by minister

Keith Budinger, chief executive at Halite Energy.
Keith Budinger, chief executive at Halite Energy.

A company has been blocked from storing gas underneath fields in Lancashire.

Halite Energy wanted to store 900 million cubic metres of natural gas in Preesall but following a 10-year battle with campaigners the Planning Inspectorate has rejected the plans.

The decision was taken on technical grounds by the Energy Minister, after he had assessed all the evidence provided to him by the Planning Inspectorate.

Keith Budinger, chief executive of Halite, said : “We are extremely disappointed by this decision.”

Garry Payne, chief executive of Wyre Council, said: “While the Secretary of State has refused permission 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.

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 campaigners.”

The firm will hear back from the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) by Monday, April 22.

It submitted its application to the Government in December 2011.