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Welsh Government urged to promote playful & environmentally friendly energy decommissioning

Updated: Oct 21

The Member of the Welsh Parliament for Aberconwy and the Shadow Minister for Climate Change – Janet Finch-Saunders MS – has urged the Welsh Government to commit to working with developers to introduce a requirement to repurpose their equipment in a way that benefits communities and the environment.

Mrs Finch-Saunders also urged the devolved Government to better procedures around data collection ahead of any future decommissioning. It comes as a report by Zero Waste Scotland estimated that as many as 5,613 turbines will be decommissioned between 2021 and 2050, generating between 1.25 million and 1.4 million tonnes of material.

Speaking after her contribution, Janet said:

“I am keen to see the growing number of off-shore wind farms, and the seabed connectors that are in train with National Grid, used as the basis for seabed ecosystem recovery and blue carbon sequestration. Under this vein, I have called on the Welsh Government to review what steps they could take to encourage the diversion of community spend towards planting efforts and habitat restoration programmes. “After all, conversations with stakeholders have made plain that, if wind farms can become sanctuary areas featuring proactive habitat restoration, in the form of such things as artificial reef application to turbine bases, then the wind energy infrastructure could make a unique and enormous positive contribution to marine recovery and carbon net-zero. “But we should also be looking ahead at the environmental and community good of these windfarms when the structures are decommissioned. Looking abroad, in Denmark, the Re-Wind Network is repurposing these structures into bicycle shelters and footbridges, whilst a 1,200-square-metre playground featuring a slide tower and tunnels made from decommissioned blades has been introduced to the Dutch urban landscape. “This is why, as part of their collaborative, inter-Governmental work ensuring that developers conduct community impact assessments, Welsh Minister should also commit to working with developers to introduce a requirement to repurpose their equipment in a way that benefits our communities and the environment.”

In recognising the potential impact of the proposed Awel y Môr Offshore Wind Farm project, which will see up to 91 turbines situated around 10.6 km off the coast of Llandudno, Mrs Finch-Saunders also called on the Minister to clarify how future applications can give due consideration on the potentially negative impact of the industrialisation of the close horizon on fishermen and seaside towns.

ENDS

Photo: Janet Finch-Saunders MS/AS

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