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Airbus gets all-clear to haul wings to river

AIRBUS was given the go ahead yesterday for plans to haul superjumbo wings to barges on the River Dee - despite fears for an important bird colony.

AIRBUS was given the goahead yesterday for plans to haul superjumbo wings to barges on the River Dee - despite fears for an important bird colony.

A road will be built from the factory at Broughton, Flintshire, across farm land and a railway, to the banks of the River Dee where the wings will be loaded from new concrete jetties onto purpose built barges.

They will then be transferred to Mostyn Docks and shipped out to France.

The new road will cross land specially managed to encourage rare lapwings - prompting an objection from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. The RSPB said it was not opposed to the scheme, but wanted Airbus to consider setting aside alternative land for the birds.

Airbus has indicated it is willing to negotiate.

The Government's environmental watchdog, the Countryside Council for Wales, last night said it was " surprised" at the speed with which the scheme had got approval, before it had submitted its own observations.

The CCW has requested more information before giving its final opinion.

Despite the reservations, Flintshire planning committee yesterday decided to back the scheme and give it conditional permission.

Councillors also gave officers power to resolve any reservations CCW may have and if they fail to reach agreement would take the application back.

But CCW objections alone would not be allowed to stop the scheme going ahead.

CCW conservation officer Paul Day said: "This application seems to be going through at a rate of knots. We are not saying we are opposed to it, we just want the full details to assess the implications of the movement of the wings through the Site of Special Scientific Interest, the Special Protection Area and the designated Ramsar sites on the Dee. We asked for additional information and I have passed it on to our specialist advisers.

"I know this land is managed sympathetically by the farmer and is one of the most important breeding sites for lapwings in Wales. It is not a huge area and I know RSPB are saying an additional area should be set aside.

"Airbus are looking at designating wildlife sites as mitigation, it's just that I would rather we had the scheme on the table now. I'm a bit surprised Flintshire has made a decision." Flintshire Transport Executive member Coun Meirion Matthews said: "This is something I welcome very much and it is a step in the right direction using our river once again to transport goods.

Flintshire planners say although the application could potentially breach some of its planning policies there are "exceptional circumstances" which outweigh any harm the proposals could cause to the green barrier...SUPL:


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Mike Fuller
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