Bypass decision 'a long way off'

The government appears to be “far from” deciding to bypass the Bacton gas terminal in light of terrorism concerns, a Norfolk MP said last night.North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb met Home Office minister Tony McNulty yesterday to discuss the issue, which has met widespread concern among villagers since it was first reported in the EDP last month.

The government appears to be “far from” deciding to bypass the Bacton gas terminal in light of terrorism concerns, a Norfolk MP said last night.

North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb met Home Office minister Tony McNulty yesterday to discuss the issue, which has met widespread concern among villagers since it was first reported in the EDP last month.

The site is a vital hub in the national power grid, dealing with around 30pc of the country's gas needs. It has long been considered a potential terrorist target, years ago at the hands of the IRA and now at the hands of Al Qaida or related groups.

Last year it was revealed that plans of the complex were found on the laptop of an arrested suspect.

When they met, Mr Lamb presented Mr McNulty with a list of questions submitted by residents in connection with the bypass plan.

“He has undertaken to answer them in writing as best as he is able, subject to security issues,” said Mr Lamb. “They have not reached the stage yet of determining whether any bypass is necessary, it is not the case that this is definitely going to happen.

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“I stressed the importance of looking at other measures other than a diversion to address any security concerns, such as the kind of concrete walls we have at Westminster or other physical measures, combined with the armed police who are already at Bacton.

“The minister is expecting a security assessment report in late August, which he said he will brief me on and I will pass the information on to local residents.

“It would appear they are far from the point where they have decided a bypass is necessary. Whatever happens I made it clear it is of absolute importance residents and businesses are consulted on this.”

Mr Lamb said he had been told possible diversion routes had only been looked at in “minimal detail”.

Mr Lamb's Tory rival Trevor Ivory said yesterday his office had been “inundated” with responses to a questionnaire delivered to every house in Bacton.

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