Halite wins legal challenge over Lancashire gas storage

Wyre estuary Halite Energy Group wants to store natural gas in 19 purpose-built caverns at Preesall Saltfield.

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An energy firm has won a legal bid against the government on underground storage of gas in Lancashire.

Halite Energy Group wants to store up to 900 million cubic metres of natural gas in 19 purpose-built salt caverns, at Preesall Saltfield.

The High Court has quashed a decision by Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, which refused consent. The application will be reconsidered.

The Department for Energy and Climate Change said it was "disappointed".

'Redetermination of application'

It had rejected the application last April, on the grounds it "failed to demonstrate the suitability of the site's geology".

Keith Budinger, chief executive of Halite Energy Group, said: "The High Court has upheld Halite's legal challenge on all grounds."

He said the board will now work with its legal and planning advisers.

"Halite Energy Group looks forward to participating in the process that will lead to a redetermination of our application by the Secretary of State," he added.

A Department for Energy and Climate Change spokesman said: "We are disappointed and are currently considering the options and way forward in light of the judgement."

Ian Mulroy from Protect Wyre, a group opposed to the plans, said: "We are disappointed with the decision. We will wait and see what happens."

Halite claimed the planned facility would create up to 3,000 jobs across the UK.

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