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The Gwynt y Môr Tourism Fund has made its first awards, helping to kick start two significant tourism schemes in Conwy and Denbighshire.
RWE npower renewables is making £690,000 available during the construction of
Gwynt y Môr Offshore Wind Farm which will generate clean, green electricity for around 400,000 homes once complete in 2014.
The first award will support a project to make major improvements to the Victorian pier at Llandudno, the longest in Wales, allowing steam and cruise liners to once again dock in the town.
The second will back Rhyl‟s attempt to win blue flag status for its beach with the creation of a new bathing area and ramped access for all.
Wales‟ Business Minister Edwina Hart commented: “Tourism provides jobs and the industry is worth around £4bn to the Welsh economy so I am delighted this funding from RWE npower renewables will help further enhance some of Wales’ most visited spots. This investment is a good example of how businesses can work together with the public sector to maximise opportunities for our economy and our communities here in Wales.”
Announcing the first two tourism schemes, RWE npower renewables‟ Gwynt y Môr Project Director, Toby Edmonds said: “We are delighted to be able to back the tourism industry in North Wales which, like the renewables industry, is so important to the region’s economy.
“Neither of these two projects could have happened without the funding from the Gwynt y Môr Offshore Wind Farm Tourism Fund.
“Both are exciting, well developed projects with the potential to generate widespread interest in the local region, increase visitor numbers and consequently increase spending in the North Wales economy.”
Gwynt y Môr Offshore Wind Farm Limited has been working with both Conwy County Borough Council and Denbighshire County Council to identify suitable projects to benefit from the funding.
During offshore construction further projects will be announced, with both local authority areas benefiting equally from the fund.
The first project to benefit from the Tourism Fund in Conwy will see major improvements to the „Dolphin Fenders‟ along Llandudno Pier, allowing cruise ships, such as the Balmoral and Waverley, and their passengers to dock in the town.
Both vessels were regular visitors to the town until 2006 when the fenders fell into disrepair
A grant of £200,000 is being made to the Local Authority to enable the work to be completed. Additional funds are being allocated by Conwy County Borough Council, Llandudno Town Council and Six Piers Limited, owners of the Pier.
Cllr Ronnie Hughes, Portfolio Holder for Tourism said: “This is great news for the visitor economy of Llandudno & Conwy County.
“We are grateful for the support of Gwynt y Môr Tourism Fund for its important contribution, which is an excellent example of a partnership between the private and public sector.
“Tenders for the work have already gone out and we are hoping to begin next month, ready to see vessels arriving again in Llandudno as early as next season.”
In Rhyl, £125,715 is being awarded to create dual purpose ramped access to the beach at a new area specially designated for bathing. Sand friendly wheelchairs will be available for visitors with disabilities and ramped access created for small craft such as wind surfers, beach buggies and sand yachts.
Introducing an additional safe swimming area further eastwards on Rhyl beach with full onshore facilities, including ramped access, will improve the likelihood of Blue Flag status for the town.
Councillor Huw Jones, Cabinet Lead Member for Tourism, Leisure and Youth at Denbighshire County Council said: “Rhyl has a beautiful sandy beach yet has so far been unable to gain blue flag status.
“The current bathing area and EU water sampling point is located towards the west end of Rhyl beach and is subject to the tidal influences from the River Clwyd.
“We are confident that by creating an additional bathing area away from the influence of the River Clwyd, and improving onshore amenities we can achieve blue flag status so increasing confidence in our facilities and attracting more visitors to the town.”
This funding is separate from the £19 million of community benefit funding which will be available once the wind farm is fully operational in 2014. Details of the consultation carried out earlier this year will be announced shortly.
At 576MW, Gwynt y Môr is one of the largest offshore wind farms currently in construction in Europe. It is a shared investment between partners RWE Innogy, Stadtwerke München GmbH and Siemens
Once fully operational, energy generation from Gwynt y Môr is expected to be equivalent to the average annual needs of around 400,000 homes
RWE npower renewables has set up a project information line which people can call if they have a query about the construction of Gwynt y Môr - the number is 0845 026 0587.
Gwynt y Môr offshore wind farm is being constructed 13 kilometres off the North Wales coast, in water depths of 12-28 metres, and was granted approval by DECC (Department of Energy and Climate Change) back in December 2008.
Gwynt y Môr Offshore Wind Farm Limited has awarded contracts worth more than £70million to companies in Wales and more are expected to be announced shortly.
For more information about Gwynt y Môr Offshore Wind Farm visit www.rwe.com/gwyntymor