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Monday, 26 August, 2002, 06:56 GMT 07:56 UK
Changes sought in windfarm controls
Wind farm
Windfarm decisions currently rest with Westminster
Sensitive decisions over the size and timing of large-scale wind farms in Wales could in future be taken in Cardiff Bay instead of in Westminster.

Controversial decision-making powers could be handed over to the Welsh Assembly if negotiations under way with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) are successful.

The possibility is revealed in the latest monitoring report on the work of the Assembly from the Institute of Welsh Affairs (IWA), published on Monday.

The report also points out that there could be an extension of the assembly's powers to give it operational control over the management of animal diseases like foot-and-mouth - putting Wales on a par with Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Turbines

The windfarm discussions follow controversy over the planning permission granted by the DTI in May for a 58 megawatt windfarm project near the Plynlimon mountain range at Cefn Croes in Ceredigion.

The 39 planned turbines in the 35m project, measuring 300ft, will be twice as high as Nelson's Column.

Under current arrangements developments under 50 megawatts are decided by the assembly - with those above being referred to the UK Government.

The assembly wrote to the DTI asked for a public inquiry into the scheme, and a further 200 letters were sent by public bodies and private individuals.

Concerns

Now negotiations have started with the DTI over a wider role for the assembly.

The assembly's lack of overall control during the foot-and-mouth outbreak was a major cause for concern for many AMs and those affected by the crisis.

The case for a transfer of power was made by former Welsh Agriculture Minister, Carwyn Jones, to the House of Lords constitutional committee earlier this year.

There are now plans to amend the Animal Health Act of 1981.

See also:

23 May 02 | Wales
10 Dec 01 | Wales
10 Jul 01 | Wales
Links to more Wales stories are at the foot of the page.


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