The Preesall area overlies a thick layer of rock salt which has previously been extensively mined for brine, leaving a number of large caverns. There is potential to store a nationally significant amount of natural gas in these caverns and thus contribute to national energy security.
I was involved in this scheme at the beginning; I undertook Extended Phase 1 habitat survey and purple ramping-fumitory survey and provided input to the ecology chapter of the draft Environmental Statement.
The proposals proved unpopular, with objections raised about safety, visual impact and environmental risks, and three previous planning applications were rejected. The developer, Halite Energy (formerly Canatxx) remains committed to the scheme and applied at the end of 2011 to have the project considered by the Infrastructure Planning Commission (or its successor). The application was rejected again in 2013, but Halite Energy won a judicial review in early 2014. It remains to be seen how the application will be redetermined.