Tom Keighley

Member Article

Lancashire gas development could create 3,000 jobs

Halite Energy Group have suggested that plans to develop an underground gas storage facility at Preesall in Lancashire, would create over 3,000 jobs.

The Preesall Gas Storage Economic Impact Report highlights the £660m investment from Halite, which puts the project on a similar scale to developments such as the Trafford Centre, Glasgow’s M74 extension and the new build Wembley Stadium.

Halite’s application is being examined by the Planning Inspectorate, following which a final decision will be made on the project by the Secretary of State by April 2013.

The report estimates that 90% of the total investment would be in the UK, and Halite has committed to source a range of construction contracts and create employment opportunities in the local area.

Following construction, the facility would operate for at least 40 years, and will create 35 operational roles.

Commenting on the report Dr John Roberts CBE, chairman of Halite said: “There is an urgent need to bring forward major infrastructure schemes such as the one we are proposing to stimulate growth and provide much needed jobs in the UK.

“This report underlines in detail how our project would make a significant impact at local, regional and national level, should we receive consent.

“Halite is absolutely committed to ensuring that Lancashire benefits from the project. During the coming months we will be engaging with local businesses, schools, colleges, universities and a range of other stakeholders to explore every opportunity to generate jobs locally, invest in the supply chain in Lancashire and utilise the project as an educational resource for young people.”

A recent report from the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee on the UK’s energy supply, acknowledged that more gas storage is needed.

The report stated the UK should double its storage levels by 2020 in order to avoid exposure to gas supply interruptions and price spikes, and also back up intermittent electricity generated from wind.

Tony Attard OBE, Chairman of the Institute of Directors (IoD) North West, said: “This project will improve our energy security, create jobs and provide a boost to businesses in Lancashire and the North West.

“Britain needs more gas storage, and it’s essential that projects such as these go ahead at full speed to reduce the likelihood of damaging gas price spikes. We simply can’t take risks with the security of our energy supplies.”

The report has been prepared by Regeneris Consulting, who are economists based in Manchester and London.

Darren Wisher, a director at Regeneris Consulting said: “With the right mechanisms in place, this large scale private sector investment would provide jobs for many hundreds of Lancashire residents.

“Current developments in the energy sector represent the most significant opportunity for Lancashire to diversify its economic base in decades.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Tom Keighley .

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