A call from the Welsh Assembly for a public inquiry into the Gwynt-y-Môr windfarm proposal has added wind to the sails of its opponents.
The Assembly has written to the Department of Trade and Industry calling for the inquiry because members feel its possible adverse impact on tourism hasn’t been fully explored.
“Tourism operators consider the quality and character of the seascape is an essential element in the attractiveness of the area and, as the tourism industry is a key economic driver, a negative impact could put their economic future at risk,” says the Assembly’s letter to Westminster.
“Llandudno is Wales’ premier resort and provides the major concentration of accommodation in North Wales attracting older visitors, many of whom are retired, as well as significant levels of conference and business tourism.
“Many attractions in North Wales are dependent on visitors staying in North Wales and of these many are repeat visitors who return to Llandudno because of its unspoilt character.
“The visual impact on Llandudno would be significant, with wind turbines dominating over two thirds of the horizon when looking out to sea.”
It claims nearly 12,200 jobs in Conwy county are dependent on tourism.
“Whilst it is appreciated that the policy of both the Assembly and the UK Government is to increase the contribution from renewable energy, the potential negative impact on tourism in a premier Welsh resort is a material consideration, and should be tested against the proposed benefits,” it adds.
Conwy AM Gareth Jones, who has been backing the call for an inquiry, said: “Let’s hope democracy is seen to operate in Westminster and the minister of energy finally calls for a public inquiry or even rejects the proposals.”
And John Lawson-Reay of campaign group Save Our Scenery said: “We’ve been battering at the door of the Assembly and finally they’ve agreed with us. We believe a public inquiry would be in everyone’s interests because it would allow all arguments to be thrashed out thoroughly.”
By Judith Phillips
6 March 2008
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding