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Gas storage facility celebrates safety milestone
AN underground gas storage facility in Stublach, near Northwich, is celebrating after reaching a key safety milestone.
Storengy UK, the company behind the project has not had an accident since April 2008.
Members of the Local Liaison Committee were invited to explore the site as part of a ‘Safety Day’ event, held to mark more than 1.75 million man hours without any lost time injuries.
Representatives of various parish councils attended the event, with many of their concerns regarding safety quashed by what they saw and heard.
Alan Leadbetter, technical director for Storengy, said: “We’ve got a number of safety procedures in place at the site which mean we can shut the whole facility down in less than 30 minutes should there be an emergency.”
There had also been concerns that the site, which covers around 1,000 acres of farm land just off the A530, would create an eyesore and cause disruption to farmers.
However, John O’Donnell, leaching manager at Storengy, said: “We try to fit in with the farmers as best we can. We’re always talking to the farmers and try to keep a good relationship with them, addressing any concerns they may have with what we’re doing.”
Storengy was originally granted planning permission for the £350m Stublach facility in 2005.
There will be 28 caverns underneath the land at Stublach on completion in 2018, with 20 of them already nearing completion.
John reiterated that any damage caused to the farmers’ land during the construction process will be fixed before handing back the land.
“We’re trying to leave the farmers with as much land as possible,” he said.
“Once we’ve finished creating the caverns and installing the pipe work, we’ll restore the land back to how it was beforehand – sometimes to an even better standard.”
Nicola Clarke, clerk to Lostock Gralam Parish Council, was just one of those present on Friday’s tour.
She said: “I attend the Liaison meetings but it can be difficult when they talk about technical bits and bobs, so I found the presentation and bus tour of the site interesting and well worth doing.
“I was impressed to see how well the works are kept out of site of area – you would never know so much was going on when you pass the entrance on King Street.
“They certainly seem to be aware of public perception about the storage of gas and I feel that they are on top of it and would be able to react very quickly.
“Their ethos about safety and liaison with the farmers is impressive and I hope it will continue.”
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