Williams urges Government to devolve energy planning powers

June 29, 2011 2:22 PM

Ceredigion's Welsh Liberal Democrat MP, Mark Williams, has urged the Government to transfer powers over planning on large scale energy projects to the Welsh Assembly at today's Welsh Questions session. Mark Williams

First Minister Carwyn Jones recently called for developments above 50 MW to be devolved to the Assembly. Decisions on projects over 50 MW are currently made by the Infrastructure Planning Commission, but the abolition of this body in the Localism Bill will see the power returned to the Secretary of State in Westminster.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have long called for this power to be transferred, and are also arguing that TAN 8, the planning guidance which has led to a concentration of applications in certain parts of Mid Wales, should be revised to ensure that it does not put so much pressure on rural mid Wales and that community organisations benefit directly from the money generated by new wind developments.

Commenting, Mark Williams said:

"For many years this has been a matter of contention, and it is disappointing that the Government seems to be following the lead of the previous Labour administration in not considering the case for the transfer of this power.

"The Welsh Government already has the final say over planning for energy projects under 50 MW, and to many from all parties it seems that this would be perfectly in line with the devolution settlement.

"The Minister is right to say that the main reason that a disproportionate number of large scale wind developments are being pursued in Mid Wales is because of the Welsh Government's flawed planning policy, but that does not alter the fact that decisions about planning for large scale energy projects in Wales should be made in Wales."

ENDS

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