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Inquiry call on offshore windfarm

The Welsh Assembly Government has told the Department of Trade and Industry there should be a public inquiry into a planned offshore windfarm at Llandudno.

An application was submitted to the DTI in November 2005 to build and operate the Gwynt y Mor offshore windfarm.

Welsh Labour leader Rhodri Morgan said a “full public inquiry” was needed.

The Lib Dems and Plaid said the final decision on the project should be taken in Wales, while the Conservatives said they had pressed for an inquiry.

Under the plans by Npower Renewables, 200 turbines will be sited 15km off Llandudno.

A spokesman for the assembly government confirmed they have told the DTI that they want a public inquiry, but said a final decision would lie with the DTI.

A spokesman for the DTI said that they were not aware of plans to hold a public inquiry as the application was still being discussed.

Labour leader Mr Morgan said of the proposal: “It needs a full public enquiry and we are calling for a full public enquiry – simple as that.

“It is such a big proposal with such a massive potential impact.

“Both sides should have their opportunity to put their case to a public enquiry inspector, who will make his recommendation to the DTI.”

‘Controversial’

The leader of the Welsh Conservatives assembly, Nick Bourne, said: “A public inquiry is certainly needed and is something we have pressed for.

“But when large, controversial issues such as this came up in the middle of the last assembly term there was no prospect of the assembly government agreeing to such an inquiry.

“It is only now, days before the election that Rhodri Morgan has decided to call for one. His timing is cynical and a clear attempt to salvage a few votes.”

The Welsh Liberal Democrats said: “The Welsh Liberal Democrats believe planning decisions should be devolved to the assembly so that such decisions are taken in Wales , by the representatives of the people of Wales, rather than by the DTI.”

Plaid Cymru added: “A public inquiry would allow people to have their say on this important issue but in the end the decision will still be made by the DTI in London.

“Local people and the Welsh assembly should decide the fate of this proposal.”

bbc.co.uk

30 April 2007