Last week residents and community representatives of Preesall and Fleetwood met with the new Managing Director of the Halite gas storage project. Mark O’Brien who has been involved with other gas storage schemes elsewhere in the UK reconvened the Community Liaison Panel to update everyone on where the scheme is up to.
Halite does not currently have Final Investment Decision (FID). Talks are progressing with a new investor and the new owners NPL will also be funding the project. Mark O’Brien advised that when the project is ‘implemented’ it is very likely FID will be achieved. Halite is now working to ensure that the final 3 Requirements are submitted to the Council and discharged. Mr O’Brien did confirm that it is likely that there will be a need to do more monitoring surveys prior to any works commencing on the wider project build. He has visited the HSE offices in Bootle, the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) in Newcastle and has been tasked with re-engaging the Marine Management Liaison Panel shortly. Also, he advised that an agreement had been finalised with the Knott End Golf Club in December 2019.
Mr O’Brien told the group that the project is still on schedule to commence works prior to July 2020.
The 3 Requirements that need to be finalised are:
Requirement 18 – Ground/Surface Water & Pollution
Requirement 27 – Noise Management
Requirement 28 – Dust Management & Mitigation
Talks are ongoing with Wyre Council to progress the Requirements and the relevant documentation is being prepared to submit.
Construction on the ‘haul road’ – the main access road to the site – is scheduled to start in May or June 2020.
In regard to concerns about mud on the road – Mr O’Brien said there would be local wheel washing facilities at Hall Gate Lane and there may be one required at the Cemetery Lane/Back Lane crossing. He said the project will be monitored to see if additional wheel washing facilities may be required at any other point
Despite previous concerns raised by Halite regarding meeting noise regulations, Mr O’Brien says this will be resolved by acoustic covers which may be erected at the site and anywhere that work is being undertaken. There are limits on the levels of noise with the threat of having to stop work if they are exceeded. In this respect Mr O’Brien said additional covers will be introduced ‘but noise issues are not expected to be substantial’.
The very concerning issue of dumping 19,000 tons of brine into the sea at Rossall was again raised.
Mr O’Brien again reiterated that the company has tried to find different uses for the brine but it is ‘unfortunately not viable’ so at the current time they continue to look to discharge the brine into the sea. They have a marine licence, extraction licence and discharge licence. However they did admit that more studies will be needed and the timing of this ‘will be borne in mind’ following concerns from mariners that so far studies have been conducted at a time of year when marine life is less active or elsewhere.
Mr O’Brien confirmed there would be a period of 1-3 years allocated to carry out this testing.
Members of the community requested more local consultations in the run up to any works being carried out. It was suggested that meetings should be held at both Preesall and Knott End.
The next CLP meeting has been suggested for June but this may be postponed given the Coronavirus situation.
If you have any observations or concerns about the content of these meetings, please do get in touch with me.