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Objection lodged amid fears planned school is too close to gas facility

A health and safety watchdog has objected to plans for a new high school in Oban because it is near a gas storage facility, Aberdeen Press and Journal has reported.

Oban High School on Soroba Road is about quarter of a mile from to a bulk liquefied natural gas storage facility operated by SGN (formerly Scotland Gas Networks) at Lochavullin Road.

This puts it in the consultation zone for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Hub North Scotland, on behalf of Argyll and Bute Council, is seeking planning permission for demolition of the existing secondary and erection of a new one.

However, the HSE has advised against planning permission being granted. It has stated that whilst the risk of a gas explosion is not sufficient to shut down the storage facility or move the population at risk, HSE practice is to use the planning system as a means of reducing the population at risk.

Also within a quarter of a mile radius to the gas storage facility is the town’s Tesco superstore and the Energie gym, among many other businesses.

In a report to go before the council’s planning committee meeting on Wednesday, planning officer David Love states that the risk of an incident at the gas storage facility is low.

He recommends that planning permission be granted, subject to notification to ministers.

A spokeswoman for HSE said: “Following discussions between Argyll and Bute Council and HSE the application has been revised so as to reduce the level of risk and this will deliver improvements over the existing school layout.

“HSE will normally consider its role to be discharged when it is satisfied that the Council has given HSE’s advice the most careful consideration and is acting in full understanding of that advice and the consequences that could follow.”

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