Eni UK suspends Cardigan Bay oil and gas survey plan

A boat conducting a seismic survey Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption A seismic survey involves loud shockwaves being fired out of submerged guns

An international energy company has suspended an application to carry out an oil and gas survey off the Welsh coast.

Eni UK Ltd had applied to the UK government to carry out a seismic survey in Cardigan Bay.

But the plans sparked outrage amid concerns for porpoise and dolphin populations in the area.

Energy Secretary Greg Clark revealed the application had been suspended at Eni UK's request.

The company has not commented further on its reasons.

Cardigan Bay has the UK's biggest resident population of dolphins, and is home to thousands of porpoises for part of the year.

In March, Eni UK had applied for permission to carry out the geological survey, which involves firing shockwaves out of a submerged gun, between 1 June and 30 September.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Cardigan Bay has the UK's largest resident population of dolphins

Campaigners labelled the plans "outrageous", and almost 7,000 people signed an online petition in opposition.

The energy secretary said he had asked his staff to look into the matter "urgently" after receiving an email about the plan from Pembrokeshire Preseli MP Stephen Crabb.

Mr Clark added: "At Eni UK Ltd's request all work on the application has now been suspended.

"I can assure you that approval would not be granted if the proposals were likely to have any significant adverse effects on the Pembrokeshire coast and the wildlife that live there."

Local environmentalists have welcomed the announcement.

"Communities around the bay have been united in their outrage and opposition to this proposal and we're sure will be relived to hear of its suspension," said Alan Cookson, of the Gwerin y Glannau group in Ceredigion.

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