Our coastline has significant conservation interest with many protected areas, some of which came into force or were extended after permission for Halite’s gas storage project was granted in 2015. These include the Liverpool Bay Special Protection Area, the Shell Flat and Lune Deep Special Area of Conservation and the Wyre Lune Marine Conservation Zone.
Since the permission for the brine discharge was given in 2007, the coastline from Rossall to Cleveleys has also benefited from the new sea defence which was completed in the summer of 2018.
Photos taken on regular walks with my family show how the coastline has changed since the new sea defences were completed.
As a regular walkers down at Rossall where the dispersal outlet will be placed at a point of 2.3KM out to sea, we have seen how the coastline levels have changed considerably in a short time.
The new rock boulder groynes have become buried by pebbles and shifting sands in places. There is also the new ‘island’ forming out at Kings Scar. This coupled with the lack of dredging leads me to question the accuracy of the dispersal modelling submitted in the initial application, so many years ago.
By Halite’s own admission the discharge of 80,000m3 of hyper saline brine every day for up to 10 years will lead to a ‘dead’ zone killing off marine life which is unlucky enough to cross its path. This will have a devastating effect on our diverse marine life. At a time when the government has recognized the need for enhanced protection for our seas and is considering Highly Protected Marine Areas, it seems unconceivable that this project could go ahead.
The Environmental Agency have now refused an extension to the water abstraction licence (No NW/072/0400/001) that expired on the 17th July 2020. This licence would have allowed them to pump up to 80,000 cubic meters of water a day from Fleetwood Dock. However, the dock is silting up at an alarming rate and it is questionable whether this is still a feasible water source.
There are many other concerns about this project including, the suitability of the geology of the area for the proposed caverns, the amount of traffic construction it will generate on narrow country roads, there are more residential properties on both sides of the estuary and the consequences of a cavern collapse resulting in a gas explosion does not bear thinking about.
We must protect our local marine life and environment from this disaster.
Blog by Fran, a local resident, Thornton
Photographs below show the level of sand and stones slowly rising over time on the steps to the beach.
Written by volunteers from the No Gas Storage Campaign. If you would like to write a blog - get in touch!