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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 March, 2004, 17:48 GMT
Dredging threat to Airbus deal
A380 Airbus superjumbo
The wings of the A380 will be transported from Mostyn Docks
An AM is warning an 11bn deal with Airbus could be in jeopardy if permission for the Port of Mostyn to dredge the Dee Estuary is refused.

The aerospace factory in Broughton wants to transport wings for its new A380 superjumbo by boat from Mostyn to France but if the estuary is not dredged barges may not be able to get in and out of the port.

"The delays in getting a licence to dredge the River Dee Estuary have raised concerns about the transportation of the Airbus wings," said north Wales AM Mark Isherwood.

"The difficulties surrounding maintenance dredging of the Dee Estuary have not helped this situation and must have been the final nail in the coffin when P&O decided to withdraw the route.

"There is now a serious threat to the Airbus project if the wings cannot be transported down the Dee."

P&O entering Mostyn Docks
P&0 have sold their stock and will no longer sail from Mostyn

Ferry operator P&O confirmed on Monday it was axing services between Mostyn Docks and Dublin after less than three years, saying the dredging issue had played a part in their decision.

The Environment Agency said it has been unable to make a decision over the dredging yet.

However, it confirmed the Countryside Council for Wales(CCW) has made the agency aware of their concerns over the impact of dredging on wildlife.

The CCW is concerned that the area is one of the "most important sites for over wintering birds in the UK".

Earlier this week Jim O'Toole, managing director at the port said the estuary's regulators - including the Environment Agency - were partly to blame for P&O's withdrawal because they have not allowed them to dredge the area since it reopened two and a half years ago.

Land and sea

However, Brian Fleet from Airbus says that while he expected the Environment Agency to initially turn down the request to start dredging, they may be able to persuade them.

Purpose-built berths to handle the wings of the superjumbo are now nearing completion at Broughton and Mostyn in readiness for the first export in April.

Wings will be taken by road to the riverside at Broughton, loaded on to a barge and then onto a ship at Mostyn docks.

The eventual destination will be Toulouse in France where the new Airbus A380 will be assembled.

Mostyn ferry service axed
01 Mar 04  |  North East Wales
Mostyn dock wins P&O contract
06 Nov 01  |  Wales
Morgan opens revamped docks
08 Feb 02  |  Wales
Wings to go by land and sea
06 Feb 02  |  Wales

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