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BBC Wales's Miles Fletcher
"St David's Day had been pencilled in for a grand opening"
 real 28k

BBC Wales's Industry Correspondent Miles Fletcher
"There is also the unanswered question over when the barrage will be properly completed"
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Wednesday, 1 March, 2000, 11:17 GMT
Assembly snub for barrage
Cardiff Bay barrage
A small plaque will be unveiled at the barrage
Former opponent of the Cardiff Bay barrage - First Secretary Rhodri Morgan - has denied that his personal views have led to the shelving of plans for a grand opening of the 200m project.

The Queen had been expected to perform the ceremony, but the National Assembly now says it will not be marking the completion of the project - the centrepiece of the regeneration of Cardiff Bay.

Anti-barrage campaigners - most notably Cardiff MP and Assembly First Secretary Rhodri Morgan - fought a long battle against the massive project amid fears it could cause widespread flooding in Cardiff.

Her Majesty the Queen
The Queen was expected to perform the ceremony
But the regeneration scheme went ahead and St David's Day 2000 had been pencilled in for a grand opening.

Now a spokeswoman for the Assembly has told BBC Wales that there will no official ceremony for the project - the biggest in Europe.

Instead, a small plaque will be unveiled by the development corporation when the barrage is opened to the public at the end of this month.

But Rhodri Morgan has denied any snub to the barrage.

He said the decision was not because of his personal views on the barrage, but due to the non-availability of members of the royal family.

Controversy

The Cardiff Bay Development Corporation - currently responsible for operating the barrage - will be wound up on 31 March.

Responsibility for the barrage then passes to Cardiff County Council.

Controversy was re-ignited at the end of last year over the safety of the huge man-made lake created by the closing of the barrage.

The Environment Agency - which has to issue a licence for the barrage to operate - expressed fears that the computer system governing the water levels in the lake may result in flooding.

Manual control replaced the system until new procedures were put in place and the licence was extended until 31 March.

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