Government vetoes gas storage plan

Plans to store gas under the Lancashire countryside, which the instigating company said would have created 'thousands of jobs', have been blocked by the government.

[caption id="attachment_22896" align="f-align-medium-right f-align-center" width="400"]Halite Preesall The Preesall site[/caption]

Halite Energy, based in the USA, had hoped to convert salt fields at Preesall into 19 underground gas storage chambers capable of holding 900 million cubic metres of natural gas.

However, the Department of Energy and Climate Change rejected the proposals due to Halite's failure to prove that the site was suitable.

A DECC statement read: “Each application for gas storage must be considered on its merits. After carefully weighing up the evidence for a storage site at Preesall in Lancashire, DECC has taken the decision to refuse the application.

"The refusal is due to a specific issue – the application failed to demonstrate the suitability of the site’s geology for salt cavern storage. This is just one project. The UK has two gas storage sites under construction that will together add 13%  to the UK’s storage capacity and there are more with planning permission."

Keith Budinger, chief executive of Halite, said: “We are extremely disappointed by this decision. Halite and its team of consultants have worked strenuously over the past three years, during which our application has been scrutinised through a rigorous planning process.

“We will now need time to examine the reasons behind the turn down carefully before deciding on our next steps."