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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 October, 2004, 10:18 GMT 11:18 UK
Protesters fail to halt gas plant
One of the terminals would be built at the Petroplus site
Plans for a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Pembrokeshire have cleared the final hurdle despite a protest over safety fears.

Planning permission has already been granted and on Tuesday councillors agreed to a hazardous substances licence for the Petroplus site near Milford Haven.

Objectors said it should not be built so close to a town.

They tried to persuade councillors to defer a decision for the second time.

Planning consent has been given for the plant at the Petroplus site at Waterston, and another at the former Esso refinery at Milford.

Malaysian company Petronas plans to ship liquefied natural gas (LNG) - gas cooled down to liquid form to make it easier to transport - from all over the world.

Protesters before the meeting
Sixty protesters lobbied the council meeting on Tuesday and presented a petition

It will then be fed into the UK gas supply in a deal worth a potential 4bn over 15 years.

Campaign group

But local opposition to the plan has grown with campaigners claiming there is not enough information available about LNG to be 100% sure it would not pose a risk to residents.

The Safe Haven group - made up of Pembrokeshire residents and businesses - claims the terminals could be sited off shore.

The group, which has gathered hundreds of signatures for a petition, says many storage applications have been rejected at residential locations in the USA as a result of safety concerns.

Shortly before the hazardous substances consent was due to be discussed last month, it circulated a video featuring an LNG spillage in the US in the shape of a dense vapour cloud.

It prompted councillors to defer their decision for more information.

Campaigners gathered outside county hall in Haverfordwest prior to Tuesday's meeting.

Model of the LNG project for the port
A model of the project - council chiefs say safety is a priority

Gordon Main of Safe Haven said: "Even though the application goes against the council's own planning policies we feel the fairest thing they can do is to defer it again."

'Major boost'

He added that this would give both sides more time to gather all the necessary information.

Those in favour of building the terminals at Milford say the development would provide a major boost to the region's economy.

They claim work on building the 250m terminal would create up to 700 construction jobs, 30 permanent posts, and many spin-offs for locally-based contractors.

The increase in traffic could also see Milford Haven become the third busiest port in the UK.

John Allen Mirehouse, Pembrokeshire council's deputy leader, a supporter of the project, said jobs were not being put before safety:

"It's not jobs at any price - these are good quality jobs, these are safe jobs."

He added: "After the importation of LNG through Milford Haven, instead of being one of the most expensive places in the country for gas, we will suddenly become on one of the cheapest.

"This will be attractive to high-tech firms," he said.

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10 Mar 04  |  South West Wales

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