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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 November 2005, 12:36 GMT
Group opposes offshore wind farm
A photomontage of the view of the windfarm developments from Llandudno.

Protesters have stepped up their opposition to plans for a 200-turbine wind farm off the north Wales coast.

Developers npower renewables intend to submit the planning application for the Gwynt y Môr site, nine miles off Llandudno, by the end of November.

The Save our Scenery group says the wind farm will spoil the area for ever.

But the company, which holds a series of public exhibitions next week, said a survey found tourists and residents supported its smaller scheme off Rhyl.

The North Hoyle offshore wind farm has already been developed by npower renewables off Rhyl and Prestayn, with 30 turbines.

As well as the latest plans, the Save Our Scenery group (SOS) is worried that a second 30-turbine development at Rhyl Flats, which will be built soon, will be more visible in Llandudno than they thought it would be.

The Rhyl Flats project, which already has planning permission, was originally developed by Celtic Offshore Wind Limited (COWL) but has since been bought by npower renewables.

SOS chairman John Lawson Reay said: "A big concern is the threat to tourism. Industrial sites are not tourist hotspots and npower's plans will industrialise our bay by fencing it in with a forest of steel".

GWYNT Y MOR EXHIBITION
wind turbines
16 Nov - King's Gap Hotel, Hoylake, 1400-2000 GMT
17 Nov - Town Hall, Rhyl, 1400-2000
19 Nov - Llandrillo College, Colwyn Bay, 1000-1600
20 Nov - St George's Hotel, Llandudno, 1000-1600

But npower renewables said 96% of tourists surveyed about the smaller North Hoyle development believed it had no effect on visitor numbers and 73% of residents now supported it.

The company has produced a photomontage of what the Rhyl Flats and Gwynt y Môr wind farms will look like from the promenade in Llandudno, although it points out that some of the turbines will be smaller than those in the picture.

"The company is committed to complying with all planning and consent procedures and expects other parties to abide by these procedures in the same way," a spokesperson said.

SOS has approached Conwy MP Betty Williams, who said she needs more information before she takes the matter further.

She has asked the group for "factual information" to support its claims about the way the Rhyl Flats development application was handled.

GWYNT Y MOR FACTS
200 wind turbines 8-9 miles off the coast
120 new jobs during operational life
500,000 homes could get electricity from wind power
Source: npower renewables

She said she had been contacted three weeks ago by Llandudno Town Council to launch a public inquiry into the Gwynt y Môr application, but as the application has yet to be submitted it is not possible to do so.

Mrs Williams said a public consultation exercise would be triggered when the planning application is received by the DTI.

"As I have received conflicting claims from objectors and supporters I will consider very carefully the position at that time and will seek a meeting with the secretary of state," Mrs Williams added.




SEE ALSO:
Windfarm group seeks royal help
03 May 05 |  North West Wales
Giant windfarm plan unveiled
18 Dec 03 |  Wales


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