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Last Updated: Friday, 21 July 2006, 11:52 GMT 12:52 UK
Aid call over island nuclear jobs
Wylfa
Wylfa on Anglesey will cease operation in 2010
Calls are being made for economic aid for Anglesey after the decision to shut Wylfa nuclear power station in 2010.

About 800 people work at Wylfa, but a further 700 jobs may be at risk at nearby Anglesey Aluminium which relies on cheap electricity supplied by Wylfa.

Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have called for Anglesey to be made a "special economic zone".

Welsh Enterprise Minister Andrew Davies said work was under way to help the island's economy.

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) announced on Thursday that Wylfa will not have its operating life extended beyond 2010.

One thing that needs to be done is to declare Anglesey a special economic zone
Mike German, Liberal Democrats

MPs on the Welsh affairs select committee have concluded that Wylfa would provide an appropriate setting should the UK government approve the building of new nuclear plants, while Anglesey council and local MP Albert Owen have backed calls for another nuclear plant.

Mr Owen said he was looking in the long term at the "possibility of further nuclear generation on Anglesey".

He added: "It has kept Anglesey prosperous for many years. I think that's the way forward."

'Task force'

Enterprise Minister Andrew Davies said plans were in place to replace the jobs lost with Wylfa's closure.

He said: "We haven't been waiting for this announcement to be made.

"We have been working with a range of bodies including the council. My officials are heading up a task force.

"It isn't just about the island, we need to include the whole of north west Wales.

"Bangor University for example is going to be a very key player in the development of the economy of Anglesey and Gwynedd and the whole of north west Wales.

"Its about bringing all the players together, having a common vision and then funding it and taking that forward."

'Exciting prospect'

Opposition politicians said special measures should be taken to lesson the blow to Anglesey's economy.

Conservative economic development spokesman in the assembly Alun Cairns said: "I would hope it would become a special economic zone and structural funds provide the option for operating aid which effectively is tax relief to companies that operate within that area.

"That's an exciting prospect but until now the Welsh assembly government has been cool to say the least on it."

Mike German, leader of the Liberal Democrats in the assembly, added: "One thing that needs to be done is to declare Anglesey a special economic zone with two ambitions.

"One to bring together all the economic regenerators, all the people who can help to ensure that jobs are found for people and secondly to investigate the possibility for other sources of energy."


SEE ALSO
Wylfa life extension 'unlikely'
18 May 06 |  North West Wales
'Keep Wylfa shut' call
14 Mar 01 |  Wales

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