North West Wales

Call for 'level playing field' on wind turbine subsidy

Port of Holyhead
Image caption Welsh ports like Holyhead, Anglesey, should be allowed to bid, Mr Owen claims

Welsh and Scottish ports must have a "level playing field" so they can bid for UK Government funds aimed at encouraging the rollout of offshore wind farms, an MP has claimed.

Albert Owen, Anglesey MP, questioned why only English ports and harbours were allowed to apply for the £60m offshore wind port upgrade programme.

Ports are being encouraged to prepare for the manufacture of new turbines.

The UK Government said industrial support was a devolved matter.

The offshore wind port upgrade programme has been allocated to encourage ports to be able to prepare for the manufacture of huge new turbines in a bid to ensure they are not made overseas.

During questions on future Commons business, Mr Owen said ports in Wales and Scotland could suffer if they were not allowed to bid for the money.

He said: "This week it was announced the £60m set aside for UK ports would go to England only, with the Barnett consequential going to Wales.

"This is a reserved matter for this Parliament and surely Welsh ports and Scottish ports should have a level playing field in applying for this subsidy?"

Sir George Young told him: "Of course I understand your concern and I will raise the issue of the distribution of grants for assistance to ports within the UK."

Ynys Mon AM - and assembly government economic development minister - Ieuan Wyn Jones said the decision showed a "complete lack of respect" for the Welsh economy.

"What the Tories and Lib Dems in London have done is take this UK fund and decided to spend it all in England.

"It shows there is nothing fair about the way they are treating Wales - and once again the Secretary of state has failed to stand up for our interests."

A spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said industrial support was a "devolved matter".

He added: "Through devolved settlements separate funding has been made available to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland which could support potential projects in the devolved administrations.

"We are keen to see offshore wind supply chain development across the UK, and look to work closely with the devolved administrations to help this happen.

"The Crown Estate and DECC also signed a Letter of Intent on Monday to work together to provide support UK-wide to the development of ports infrastructure for offshore wind."

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