There’s an old saying that “you can fool some of the people some of the time, but not all of the people all of the time” and we think this is very appropriate with the emergence of Halite Energy, formerly known as Canatxx.
Perhaps, not surprisingly, almost all of the phone calls and emails received by PWG over the last month referred to Halite Energy as Canatxx so whilst their publicity machine might want us to think that this is a new start and a new company, we feel that it is just a wolf in sheep’s clothing and that no-one around here will be fooled by their attempt to purge the intensely disliked Canatxx name from our midst. But that’s their choice so we have to run with it.
So, where and what next?
An extract from the Halite Energy website states that...
Halite Energy intends to seek permission for a modified scheme through a new application to the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC), or the body that replaces it, as required by the Planning Act 2008. This process will entail significant community consultation prior to the filing of the formal application, in accordance with the IPC’s guidelines”.
The IPC decision making route contains a significant change between this proposed application and previous Canatxx ones and offers residents a far greater role in the decision making process.
The IPC process has six major steps which are:-
Pre-application where early information about the scheme and the company’s intent should appear in local media and public places, usually near to the proposed project (such as local libraries) and they should consult widely with local residents. The IPC suggests that during this stage, residents should have the opportunity to consult the local authorities and interest groups.
Acceptance is where the IPC has 28 days to decide whether there has been effective consultation and whether the application meets the required standards.
Pre-Examination follows where residents and groups such as PWG can register as interested parties and they will then be kept informed of progress and be given opportunities to become involved. The Commissioners will hold preliminary meetings and set a timetable.
Examination follows and this is where residents and groups can send in comments and speak at a public hearing. This examination can last up to 6 months.
The Decision on the proposal will be issued within 3 months of the Examination period closing.
A Post-Decision period of 6 weeks is allowed for legal challenges to the decision.
There is no guarantee that the Halite proposal will be accepted by the IPC and the IPC state in one of their consultation documents that...
This new system is designed to ensure that applications are prepared to a high standard – they must demonstrate that they have taken into account responses from consultation. Commissioners will refuse to accept any applications that are inadequate in significant areas including public consultation and environmental impact assessment.
If you look back at the previous proposals for this scheme that were submitted to Lancashire County Council and to the Public Inquiry, you will see, beyond any shadow of doubt, that they were ill-prepared and lacking in sufficient and accurate detail which almost certainly contributed to the rejection of the proposals.
The applications were, in our opinion, anything but prepared to a high standard and resulted on more than one occasion in the Public Inquiry being halted whilst basic information was either corrected where it was wrong or produced where it was missing. This, remember, from a “world class” company or as we see it, from a company that has never built anything anywhere (even now to this day this seems to be the case).
But wouldn’t you expect a new company, that has seen the errors and failures of its predecessor, to conduct new exploratory drillings to ascertain the quality of the ground for themselves and to prove beyond any doubt that their project was sustainable and safe? After all, many of the same people responsible for the earlier applications are working in their same capacities for Halite, so they should know the script by now!
It would appear that Halite are simply going to go through a process of re-working old data with new consultants which is surprising but we will know more when they embark on the ‘effective consultation’ that is key to the IPC considering their proposals.

The British Geological Survey who were lauded as the definitive geology professionals by Canatxx, but who refused to say categorically that the location was suitable for gas storage, have seemingly been replaced by other geology professionals for this next application and whilst we respect the integrity and individual skills of these professionals the fact remains that they cannot prove that the ground is safe for gas storage.
Change the professionals as often as you want - you cannot change the geology!
It wasn’t proven to be suitable for gas storage last year or the years before so it won’t be proven to suddenly be safe or suitable now.
PWG will be meeting with the IPC during October to find out more about the detail of the planning process and we will report back to you all in due course.
Ian Mulroy (Chair PWG)
Howard Phillips (Vice Chair PWG / Chair TAG)