A multi million pound ‘sweetener’ to build a wind farm off the coat of Llandudno has angered councillors.
The 200-turbine Gwynt y Môr Offshore Wind Farm, which at its closest will be just eight miles off shore is under review by the Department of Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform.
A spokesperson for Npower Renewables said: “The community benefits package in relation to Gwynt y Môr would be in the region of £1 million a year for the operational life of the wind farm. Npower Renewables is currently researching options for the format of the package and the most suitable mechanism to deliver it.”
Llandudno Town Councillor Phillip Evans said: “There is considerable opposition to the proposed wind farm and I have been persuaded that the opposition the site is correct. To offer this amount of money in planning terms is almost akin to a bribe.”
Cllr Evans said that he believed that hydro-electric power generated form a number of disused reservoirs in the area would be more beneficial.
The money would be spread across communities on the North Wales coast.
Npower has also promised a Llandudno Tourism Programme which would be linked to Gwynt y Môr and would mean an investment of some £650,000 over three years for the benefit of tourism in the area.
Jonathan Lincoln, UK Coordinator for the Sustainable Energy Alliance (SEA), said: “The building of the Gwynt y Môr offshore wind farm provides a great opportunity for Wales and will show that UK and the world that this country takes its responsibilities and commitment to the Kyoto Protocol.
“Offshore wind power provides a clear opportunity to produce clean and sustainable energy and it works, the UK has 40 per cent of the European wind resource and the potential to develop a world class offshore wind industry.”
The proposal for the 750 megawatt site was lodged in November 2005 and if built the wind farm would supply half a million homes with electricity.
John Lawson-Reay from Save Our Scenery, based in Llandudno is opposed to Gwynt y Môr and would like to see a public inquiry launched.
He said: “Tourism is the biggest employer in the area, tourism is the key product and it is being threatened by this development. The major thing we are selling is the visual aspect. Tourists come for the natural beauty and we do not want to see it desecrated.
“The reality is there is very little that can be meaningfully done with wind power. Nuclear Power is the only reliable and constantly reliable base load power.”
By Matt Jones
5 March 2008
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