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Written Statement - Energy Wales Unit Rural Economy Development Task and Finish Group

Edwina Hart, Minister for Economy, Science and Transport

I am writing to announce my intention to set up a Rural Development Task and Finish Group. The purpose of the group is to develop and recommend a strategic plan on a sustainable approach to economic growth and well being in the Rural Economy.

This will include investigating the barriers to growth of the development of renewable energy in rural areas (including grid constraints and efficient energy storage) in order to deliver Jobs, Growth, Wealth, improving community well being, to combat fuel poverty whilst advancing the cause of communities in rural Wales through renewable energy and related matters.

I have asked Jeremy Smith, Welsh Development Manager of RWE Innogy, to Chair the Group, and they have accepted the invitation.

The membership of the Group has been agreed as:
Economic Academic Expert                        Peter Midmore
Planning Issues Expert                              Edmund Bailey
North Wales Credit Union                          Rina Clarke
Grid – CEW                                              Chris Blake
Forestry – CONFOR                                  Martin Bishop
Sector SME - MD Dulas Ltd                        Phil Horton
OFGEM Rep - Observer                             James Veaney
Biomass – Severn Wye Energy Agency       Dr Rachel Smith

The first meeting of the Group will take place shortly.

This statement is being issued during recess in order to keep members informed. Should members wish me to make a further statement or to answer questions on this when the Assembly returns I would be happy to do so.