Airliner scrapyard plans concern at Llanbedr Airfield
Published: 1st Aug 2012 07:07:24
Concerns are being raised over proposals to use a former airfield in Snowdonia as a dismantling yard for airliners.
Snowdonia National Park Authority is recommending permission be given to the project at Llanbedr Airfield, near Harlech.
But opponents from park charity Snowdonia Society say the application is inappropriate on a rural site.
The airfield employed 130 people at the time it was closed in 2004.
Authority members will visit the site before any decision is taken.
Llanbedr Airfield Estates was previously granted a certificate to use the site to test unmanned aerial vehicles at the former military air base.
Now, it has applied to the park, as planning authority for the area, to re-use hangars and associated buildings for aircraft maintenance including decommissioning / disassembly, parts recovery and refitting together with engineering training.
A report says community councils in the surrounding area have given their backing to the plans for the site which would employ up to 50 people within three years, according to the planning document.
It says it would take up to 28 days to dismantle narrow bodied commercial airliners such as a Boeing 737 with bigger Boeing 747 taking up to 42 days.
Snowdonia Society wants the Welsh government to appoint a planning inspector to hold a public inquiry to consider the application rather than the park authority.
Snowdonia Society vice chair David Archer said: "Extra jobs and training opportunities would be very welcome, but the impact of such proposals on the environment needs to be properly assessed and appropriately regulated.
"Not only is this site in Wales' premier national park, part of the airfield is a national nature reserve and right next to it is a special area of conservation, the most highly protected designation under European legislation," he said.
The Welsh government said it was not appropriate to comment at this time.
The park authority, which has been asked to comment, is holding a special meeting on Wednesday to discuss the plans after planning committee members visit the site.
However, the report recommends approval, subject to conditions.
Initially after the airfield closed, Llanbedr Airfield Estates wanted to use the land for private flights and let empty buildings for business use.
Its 2009 application for a certificate of lawful use was refused by the Snowdonia National Park Authority.
However, in December 2010, the Welsh government then applied, as ministers became the freeholders of the site in 2006 when they took over the old Welsh Development Agency.
Last year, the Welsh government was granted a certificate of lawful use, enabling the site to be used to test and develop unmanned aerial vehicles.
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. Airliner scrapyard plans concern at Llanbedr Airfield. [Online] (Updated 01 Aug 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news.php/1443835-Airliner-scrapyard-plans-concern-at-Llanbedr-Airfield [Accessed 12th May 2013]
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