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Planning crucial to offshore expansion, says Bates

July 14, 2003 12:00 AM

Wind turbine (windmill).Mick Bates AM, Welsh Liberal Democrat environment spokesperson, today expressed his mixed emotions over the UK government announcement of offshore windfarm development which could power upto 15% of British homes.

He said: "This announcement will be good for jobs and for the environment, yet it fails to address the significant planning aspects of windfarms; Wales has the potential to lead Europe in renewable energy but we lack the planning guidelines to safely embed onshore and offshore wind facilities into our communities".

The UK-wide expansion of offshore potential will see small developments at North Hoyle and Rhyl Flats, with a 300-turbine project likely to sited further out at sea. Such construction is likely to run into problems without the help of TAN8, or 'technical advice note 8' to its friends, which will give useful planning guidance for windfarm development, striking a balance

between excessive impact on the landscape and amenity.

"We need TAN8 in place to reap the benefits of Wales' potential in the windfarm market", said Mr. Bates, "I also hope the Labour Assembly Government (LAG) will continue to maintain a broad based approach, encouraging tidal, solar and biomass energies too".