Over Wyre Focus - Aug 2014

Firstly, can I start by congratulating all those who were successful in their GCSEs and A-Levels? To those who did not get the grades they wanted, I sympathise. To this day, I never forget the lady at my school reading me my results down the telephone. She kindly described my D grade as “d for dog”! Often in life, things often don’t go to plan, but still work out: so don’t give up.

I have been greatly impressed by the recent work undertaken by the Protect Wyre Group to challenge the geological assessment of the salt caverns in which Halite/Canatxx’s propose to store gas. In the latest consideration of the planning application, the Department for Energy and Climate Change has commissioned an independent assessment of the geological data provided by Halite/Canatxx. I have read the report - which I can tell you was not easy work given the technical nature of the data and its analysis! I was pleased to see that the company tasked with this assessment, Senergy, has openly criticised Halite/Canatxx for providing incomplete data sets. The Protect Wyre Group and I have long argued that Halite/Canatxx has been selective in the information they disclosed about the site. From the data assessed by Senergy it is clear that much of the data has been interpreted speculatively by Halite and there remains much uncertainty about the geology. Senergy has also questioned the possible amount of gas that could be stored in the caverns: Halite/Canatxx argues that the caverns could have a working gas volume of 324 million sm³, while Senergy suggest that this figure is closer to 124 million sm³. This clearly depreciates the importance of the proposed development. Please be assured that I am continuing to do all I can to highlight the geological instability of the area and to oppose the application in the strongest terms.

Some of you will have been waiting and hoping that superfast broadband will be reaching you soon. The Government has put in over a billion pounds worth of investment to try and ensure that superfast broadband is rolled out beyond town centres and suburbia. How this money is spent is directed by the County Council, alongside BT. I was very keen for Lancashire to be one of the first counties in the country to start the roll-out and was delighted when this was realised a few years ago. However, I am becoming increasingly disappointed at how constituents in rural areas are having their hopes raised and then dashed by an ever-changing timetable. In my view, businesses need certainty before they can invest. It is vital they we know if superfast broadband is coming (and despite the sales pitches NOT everyone will be getting ýaccess to it) and that we are told when and where. I am working hard to ensure that BT and the County Council spend the public money awarded to them in the hardest to reach areas and not leave those areas until last. I shall be meeting with the County and BT again in September to urge them to give businesses in the constituency the priority they deserve.

I hold regular surgeries, if you would like to book an appointment please call my Office at the House of Commons on 0207 219 5804. I can also be contacted at my Constituency Office on 01995 672976, alternatively you can email me at wallaceb@parliament.uk or write to me at the House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA.