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Local MP backs call to stop oil and gas survey off west Wales coast

OPPOSITION by Pembrokeshire Friends of the Earth to plans to explore for oil and gas in the seas off the West Wales coast has been backed by Stephen Crabb MP.

Energy company, Eni UK Ltd, has applied to the UK government to carry out a geological survey, which involves firing loud shock waves out of a submerged gun, between 1st June and 30th September.

Pembrokeshire Friends of the Earth has written to local MPs, Assembly Members and Government Ministers urging them to oppose the plan because of its harmful impact on marine wildlife, local tourism and fishing, and climate change.

Stephen Crabb MP informed the group that he would not support any activities that threatened the marine wildlife in Cardigan Bay and would pass his concerns onto the relevant government ministers.

The environmental group has also received an encouraging response from Eluned Morgan AM who points out that Welsh Government policy is to oppose oil exploration in Wales

Pembrokeshire Friends of the Earth campaigner, Gordon James, told The Herald: “The survey area would impact on Special Areas of Conservation that are rich in wildlife and meant to be protected.

“These areas are internationally renowned for their populations of shellfish, seabirds, dolphins, porpoises and whales, all of which could be harmed by seismic activity. As if this threat was not bad enough, the company intends to begin surveying during the breeding period of certain cetaceans, leading to a significantly increased risk of injury or death to these protected species.

“In addition to ecological damage, the proposal would also inevitably disrupt fishing and tourism, which rely on a healthy marine environment and are important for local businesses and employment.

“It is indefensible that the UK government should approve of an activity that aims to extract fossil fuels from one of Britain’s most valuable marine wildlife areas just when scientists are warning of the threats of global climate catastrophe and species extinction. It would make a complete mockery of the recent declaration of a climate emergency by both the Welsh Government and the House of Commons.

“In view of the global climate and biodiversity emergencies that we face, allowing this to go ahead would be comparable to throwing petrol on a fire that is already going out of control.”

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Pembrokeshire Friends of the Earth is also organising a petition to the Minister of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy calling on him to refuse the application from Eni UK Ltd to survey for oil and gas off the West Wales coast.


Meanwhile Elin Jones has called on the Welsh Government to urgently intervene.

Writing to the Welsh Government, Elin Jones has asked the Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs Minister to urgently make representations to the UK Government’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, who will either allow the project to go ahead, or not. Natural Resources Wales will also need to provide Eni with certain licences, which are devolved to Wales.

Elin Jones also met with campaigners from Extinction Rebellion this week who had raised concerns, and the issue has been raised in Westminster by Ceredigion MP, Ben Lake.

Elin Jones AM, said: “I’ve asked the Welsh Government minister to urgently intervene and make representation to the UK Government and reject the application for an exploration licence.

“Fossil fuel exploration in Cardigan Bay should not be allowed due to its likely impact on important wildlife and biodiversity, and also our priorities for energy Investment should now be into renewable forms of energy only.

“Plaid Cymru would want all decisions regarding our seas, inshore and offshore, to be devolved to the National Assembly so that there is greater accountability and decision making by a Government and Assembly that have declared a Climate Emergency.”