Lancashire gas storage plan submitted for examination

Plans for an underground gas storage facility in Lancashire have been submitted for development consent to the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC).

Developer Halite Energy is proposing to store up to 900 million cubic metres of natural gas in a network of up to 19 caverns 300 metres below the Preesall saltfields north of Blackpool. Creating the caverns would take up to eight years to complete.

The application also includes a 12-kilometre interconnector pipeline feeding into the national gas transmission system at Nateby, a brine discharge pipeline into the Irish Sea, electricity cables and above-ground buildings.

Following consultation this spring, Halite has modified details of built development proposed at the site.  It also commissioned a further seismic assessment following safety concerns over earth tremors in the area.  

Commenting on the feedback, Halite chief executive, Keith Budinger, said: "A crucial part of our preparation for the application to the IPC is a thorough and effective consultation with the community and other stakeholders affected by our plans."

Previous proposals for underground gas storage have faced concerted local opposition. The most recent planning application, from Canatxx Gas Storage, was refused by Lancashire County Council early in 2010.  

Under the Planning Act 2008, the IPC has until 30 December to decide whether to accept the application for examination. If it goes forward, the final decision will be taken by the secretary of state for energy and climate change.

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