June 17, 2008

New Civil Airport Plea to Council

PLANS for a controversial new civilian airport in Wales' biggest national park could receive support from the local council this week.

Conservationists are so upset by the proposal to use Llanbedr airstrip, near Bar-mouth, for commercial flights that they mounted a legal challenge against the Welsh Assembly Government last month.

But on Thursday councillors will be asked to back a motion of support.

The motion, proposed by Plaid Cymru councillor Dylan Edwards, says: "The development of Llanbedr airport, Meirionnydd, as a civil airport is extremely important in order to maintain, reinforce and develop the economy and transport of the county of Gwynedd.

"I ask Gwynedd Council to support the proposal to develop Llanbedr airport as a civil airport, in principle, and to convey this support to the National Assembly for Wales and the Snowdonia National Park Authority."

Dewi Lewis, senior environment portfolio leader, said the Ministry of Defence announced in 2005 that Llanbedr airfield would close and 160 workers would lose their jobs. Since then the council had supported the WAG's efforts to find suitable uses for the airfield that would lead to new employment.

He said: "The company proposes to operate a commercial airfield and make use of the redundant buildings on the site as units to let for businesses.

"It is estimated that up to 35 people will be employed directly on the site through the various enterprises initially, with more indirect jobs created in the area thereafter."

(c) 2008 Western Mail. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.