CAMPAIGNERS against a massive gas plant in the Mid Cheshire countryside have welcomed the help of an MP.
Tatton MP George Osborne last week called on the Government to 'call in' INEOS Enterprise's application for a 28-cavity gas plant at Stublach Grange Farm, Lach Dennis. And Byley Parish Council chairman John Beecroft hopes that will lead to a public inquiry headed by a Government inspector.
Cllr Beecroft, who fought the application alongside his Lach Dennis counterpart John Hardman, said: 'Cheshire was the only county council to pass this application - Lancashire, Yorkshire and Lincolnshire all rejected it - so George Osborne's approach, with its potential to reopen the issue, is very welcome indeed.
'I don't think that just getting it called in will automatically mean that the decision will be overturned, but there's good reason to take another look at it.
'INEOS argued the plant would be important to the UK, but there are new gas pipelines coming in from Norway and there will be two liquid gas terminals built in Pembrokeshire which will be operational by 2010, before this site will be complete, so its argument about national need is nowhere near as convincing as it first seems. I hope we get the chance to bring this to light if the project is called in.'
* RESIDENTS shared their concerns with experts at an open day set up by the company behind a second gas storage plant at Byley.
E.ON UK's event at Byley Village Hall on Thursday attracted about 80 visitors. Company spokeswoman Emily High-more said: 'It was great to get people in to meet our project leaders. We had a German colleague who has been working on a similar plant in Europe sharing his experiences, while for our staff it was a great chance to meet the people of Byley, and vice-versa.'
E.ON told visitors about the community fund, which will see the company spend £100,000 over five years on community projects. Applications can be made from August 29 to the end of December and forms are available from www.eon-uk.com/gas_storage, or on 01244 323602.
Byley Parish Council chairman John Beecroft, who opposed the development, said: 'It was very informative and I think it helped people find out more than they knew before and perhaps also worry a little less.
'It was another example of E.ON UK trying to be good neighbours. I have said many times that I don't want the company to be here at all, but its making an effort to keep people well-informed, and credit to them for that.'