17 December 2007
Committee Media Officer: Rebecca Jones
tel: 020 7219 5693
Press Notice No 5
MPS GIVE BACKING TO WELSH COAL AND RENEWABLES
Coal mining in Wales has a good future and will play a valuable and significant leading role in filling an anticipated power generation gap, according to a report published today by the Welsh Affairs Committee.
The Committee urges the UK and Welsh Assembly governments to adopt a more positive policy approach which recognises the continued critical importance of Welsh coal in filling the power generation gap at present and into the future, but it expressed a note of caution about environmental issues relating to open cast mining.
The report says that a long term future for Welsh coal can be guaranteed, if carbon capture technology is fully exploited and a new generation of skilled Welsh miners can be assured - reaffirming a conclusion from the Committee’s original inquiry.
On the matter of alternative technologies, the Committee is disappointed by the level of funding provided by the Government in support of the Centre for Alternative Technology’s WISE (Wales Institute for Sustainable Education). The Committee urges the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform to reconsider the level of financial support it provides for this important project.
The Committee also raises concerns about the current price of solar panels and the shortage of skilled professionals qualified to install them and the impact this could have on the takeup of this technology. It recommends that the UK and Welsh governments take action to stimulate the market, for example via the planning process and the skills agenda.
According to the report, Government is right to conduct a further detailed study of the Severn barrage proposal. Given the scale of the project and the extent to which it would have an impact on an environmentally sensitive and highly protected area, the MPs call for the most careful assessment to be undertaken.
The Chairman of the Welsh Affairs Committee, Mr Hywel Francis MP, said:
“The Committee was impressed with the case made by unions and mining companies for the long-term future development of Welsh coal.
We are also anxious to ensure that governments in Westminster and Cardiff develop a more diverse approach to renewables rather than over-concentration on wind turbines.
We are particularly supportive of the Severn barrage proposal and the need for increased funding for the Centre for Alternative Technology's sustainable education work.”
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Committee Membership is as follows: Dr Hywel Francis MP (Chairman), Mr Stephen Crabb MP, David T. C. Davies MP, Nia Griffith MP, Mrs Siân C. James MP, Mr David Jones MP, Mr Martyn Jones MP, Rt Hon Alun Michael MP, Albert Owen MP, Mr Hywel Williams MP, Mark Williams MP
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