BLP High Court Victory for Client Gas Storage project

Halite Energy Group has won its judicial review case against the decision to refuse development consent for its gas storage project.

BLP client Halite’s application was for a development consent order (DCO) under the new Planning Act 2008 procedures. The scheme – a nationally significant infrastructure project under the 2008 Act – would allow for the construction of up to 19 caverns in the halite deposits at Preesall, Lancashire. This would result in a working storage capacity of up to 600 million cubic metres of gas. Following a six-month examination a panel of examining Inspectors appointed by the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change recommended that approval be granted. But in April 2013 the Secretary of State chose not to accept the recommendation and refused consent. To date it remains the only DCO application to be refused following examination.

But today at the High Court the Secretary of State’s refusal was quashed. In a judgment handed down by Mrs Justice Patterson following a two-day hearing in December, Halite succeeded in its judicial review challenge on all grounds. Reflecting on the judgment BLP partner Tim Smith said “The quashing of the Secretary of State’s refusal means that Halite’s application will now have to be redetermined. Halite will want to move forward from this swiftly but the details of the next steps are still to be worked through – this has never happened before”.

Notes to Editor:

The judgment in Halite Energy Group Limited –v- Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change [2013] EWHC (Admin) should shortly be available publically.

Halite Energy has been advised on its DCO application and on the subsequent judicial review proceedings by a team from BLP.

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