Welsh plans to pick energy projects to get hearing

Plans to shift the power to approve Welsh energy projects into Welsh hands were given fresh hope after Conservative Minister Greg Clark agreed to meet with Plaid MP Jonathan Edwards […]

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By Vicky Ellis

Plans to shift the power to approve Welsh energy projects into Welsh hands were given fresh hope after Conservative Minister Greg Clark agreed to meet with Plaid MP Jonathan Edwards and the Welsh First Minister.

During a debate in the Commons last night, Mr Clark said he would meet with the pair to discuss an addition to the Localism Bill which the Tory minister’s department is currently working on.

Mr Clark said: “We have a national system for consenting to major infrastructure projects. I have had meetings with Welsh Assembly Ministers on that and no doubt we will have meetings following the election of the new Assembly. I am very happy to meet the hon. Gentleman and Ministers from the Welsh Assembly Government to discuss that point.”

Hailing the news afterwards, Mr Edwards said: “It is excellent news that we now have the go-ahead for discussions about the transfer of energy powers to the Welsh Government. Plaid Cymru believes that all energy powers should be transferred to Wales as the current two-tier system allows conflicting developments.

“One consistent Welsh approach would make a huge difference to meeting our renewable energy targets and creating a greener energy mix – allowing us to realise a tidal lagoon in Swansea Bay for example.”

At present, the Welsh Government only has powers to determine planning applications up to 50MW on land, while the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) deals with applications greater than that. The Localism Bill is set to scrap the IPC.