Offshore Wind Farm

Oral Answers to Questions — Enterprise, Trade and Investment – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 2:45 pm on 30 September 2002.

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Photo of Gregory Campbell Gregory Campbell DUP 2:45, 30 September 2002

8. asked the Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment what assessment he has made regarding the local government consultation by the B9 Company about the proposed offshore wind farm.

(AQO 180/02)

Photo of Reg Empey Reg Empey UUP

It is premature to make any assessment, because the private consortium responsible for the current proposals has only recently initiated comprehensive studies and consultations. It has distributed detailed information on a wide range of environmental and other studies, entered into discussions with local government, and made presentations on its proposals at four north-west council meetings and to the North West Region Cross Border Group.

Photo of Gregory Campbell Gregory Campbell DUP

The B9 Energy Group has spoken to several councils about the consultation process. Given the responses it has received, and the concerns that the residents of the north coast have voiced about the outcome of that process, can the Minister confirm that those concerns will be taken on board when the consultation process ends and if there are alternative sites that he will consider?

Photo of Jim Wilson Jim Wilson UUP

Minister, can you limit your response to about 30 seconds?

Photo of Reg Empey Reg Empey UUP

The question of sites is for the Crown Estate to determine — it owns the seabed. The Department’s role is to license the generation of electricity; it does not deal with the site. The site in question is the only suitable one around the shores of Northern Ireland. The consultation must be comprehensive, and the Department will determine whether the site is appropriate and adequate, but it is too early to decide that yet.

Photo of Jim Wilson Jim Wilson UUP

Minister, you dealt with that subject with perfect timing.