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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 July 2006, 13:25 GMT 14:25 UK
Wales 'failed' over energy needs
wind turbines generic
The assembly government is 'over-reliant' on windfarms
Welsh MPs have condemned the UK government for "failures" in looking after Wales' energy needs.

The Welsh Affairs select committee published its energy report the same day it was confirmed Wylfa nuclear power plant would close in 2010.

The report said the UK government had failed to invest in clean coal technology and tidal power projects.

It also claimed the government was over-reliant on windpower as a solution to future energy needs in Wales.

MPs said the government had allowed Wales fo fall behind the USA in clean coal technology and risked losing the skills of a generation of Welsh miners.

They also criticised a perceived failure to encourage tidal projects such as those proposed for Swansea Bay, Kinmel Bay in north Wales and the Severn.

The report had particularly harsh words for the Department of Trade and Industry, claiming:

  • Officials were ignorant of Welsh energy issues and resources
  • They caused confusion over tidal power by distributing incorrect information
  • They allowed a group looking at whether energy powers should be devolved to "wither on the vine".

    The assembly government also drew the committee's fire with its TAN 8 policy for focusing on windfarms as a main source of alternative energy.

    However it praised assembly ministers for supporting tidal power.

    Pit head and miners
    Mining expertise in Wales is in danger of being lost, say MPs
    It said planners too often failed to give local people a say on large-scale windfarms in their area, forcing them into complete opposition to the projects.

    The report blames UK ministers for oversimplifying the debate and painting it as a straightforward choice between nuclear stations and windfarms.

    Committee chair Hywel Francis welcomed the completion of the energy review.

    He said: "We can now move forward and have a better recognition and mature debate on the range of renewables rather than the overconcentration on windfarms."

    Friends of the Earth Cymru spokesperson, Gordon James, said: "We welcome the report's recognition of the increasing role of renewable energy in reducing carbon dioxide emissions in Wales but are disappointed that it has not rejected nuclear power and fails to highlight the problems associated with LNG at Milford Haven".


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