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Campaigners call it a day after claiming victory in gas battle
5:00pm Thursday 27th March 2014 in News
A campaign group is disbanding after saying its ten year battle for safety at Canvey’s oil and gas terminals has been won.
The People Against Methane Group was set up to ensure residents were kept informed and to improve standards at the two sites – Oikos, inHaven Road, and Calor Gas, in Thames Road.
They wanted an evacuation plan drawn up in case of an emergency at either site, and also campaigned to stop a new terminal being built.
Founder George Whatley said the group achieved what it was set up to do.
Plans for a new terminal were binned last year and an island alert system, including a service which will send texts to residents if disaster hits one of the two sites, was introduced.
Mr Whatley, 72, of Limburg Road, said: “We have worked long and hard to achieve all we have and we feel we can step down whilst keeping an eye from afar on all the goings on.
“The group will never truly be closed but we are in a position to disband the committee for now.
We have done our job.”
The terminals are classed as Comah – control of major accident hazards – sites. The group has chalked up successes over the years.
In 2009, Mr Whatley, met senior Government minister Tim Yeo to protest against plans to store 108,000 tonnes of liquid natural gas on the island.
In January 2013, Calor Gas’s plans to build a huge new gas terminal, which would have stored 140,000 tons of liquified natural gas, were shelved due to a lack of demand for LNG.
Ray Howard, a long-term partner and supporter of the group, paid tribute to Mr Whatley.
He said Canvey used to provide the country with LNG but once it was found in the North Sea, Canvey’s site essentially became redundant.
Mr Howard, a Tory ward and county councillor, said: “I pay full credit to the group that was set up to fight against Canvey becoming an LNG terminal.
“George Whatley and the group have worked tremendously hard and been very proactive in their attempts to keep the island safe and I cannot thank them enough.”
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