Parish councils oppose bid to extend gas storage site

COUNCILLORS are being urged to reject plans for a massive extension to what could be the UK’s largest onshore gas storage facility.

The £400m-plus scheme, by Scottish and Southern Energy and Statoil, will involve nine underground gas caverns being built in open countryside near Garton and Grimston by pumping seawater into an underground layer of salt.

The plans were granted planning permission four years ago – but SSE has cited an increase in the rate of coastal erosion to 10 metres a year, a figure locals say is not backed by official statistics of about three metres – for relocating the new wellhead platform closer to Grimston and Garton, where residents fear years of disruption, light and noise pollution.

A demonstration at the gates took place at the weekend.

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Ward councillor Matthew Grove said: “It is not that anybody opposes the development in principle, but not at any cost. Just a few tweaks would make it far more acceptable. The main problem is that they are doubling the size of the wellhead platform bringing it substantially closer to the villages of Grimston and Garton and sticking it on top of the hill and then saying they want to work 24 hours a day for seven days a week for the next five to seven years.

“This isn’t a case of nimbyism, this community has already learned to live with phase one. They know exactly what they are going to have to contend with – asking for just 18 hours a day working six days a week – is that unreasonable?

The amendments – including the building of a new access route onto the B1242 – will be considered by East Riding councillors next Thursday.

Two parish councils are objecting to the further industrialisation of the area as do members of a joint access forum “shocked” at a “cavalier” application to shift a right of way closer to the eroding cliffs.

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Garton resident Steve Mattinson said: “Our biggest concern as a village is the noise during construction. It is the loud banging and clattering at night that wakes you up. What we are concerned about is that the message is not getting to the top of SSE.”

SSE insisted that they were committed to working with the local community.

Councillors are being recommended to support the plans subject to a legal agreement.