A PLANNED oil and gas exploration survey in Cardigan Bay has been called off after anger from residents and local politicians.

Energy company Eni UK Ltd had submitted an application to undertake a 3D seismic survey off the coast at Cardigan Bay, an area of outstanding natural beauty and home to a wide range of wildlife.

This survey was due to last 40 days, starting on Saturday, June 1, and would have covered 955 square kilometres, taking in three Special Areas of Conservation: West Wales, Cardigan Bay and Pembrokeshire Marine.

There were fears the seismic survey could have disrupted local populations of dolphins and whales in the bay, as work involves firing shockwaves out of a submerged gun.

One prediction said this could have lead to a loss of 80 per cent of marine marine wildlife in the area in less than 50 years.

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But Eni UK Ltd has today (May 31) suspended applications to survey for oil and gas off the west Wales coast.

This followed letters written by local MPs Stephen Crabb and Ben Lake, who called on the Government to intervene to prevent a proposed seismic survey taking place.

The MPs wrote to the business secretary Greg Clark to ask him to reconsider the decision after concerns from a considerable number of constituents.

Stephen Crabb MP said: “The unique, natural beauty of the Pembrokeshire coast and the wildlife that live there makes this an absolute no-go for such a survey. I shared the concerns of my constituents on this matter and did not see the justification for such a survey.”

In a response to Mr Crabb’s letter, Greg Clark said no approval was granted to Eni UK Ltd’s application and so the survey will not be going ahead this weekend.

“He also informs me that all work on the application has now been suspended and 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 here. I am very glad to hear this and know how reassuring this will be for those constituents who had raised concerns,” added Mr Crabb.

Ceredigion MP Ben Lake said he was “very pleased to hear that the proposed seismic survey in Cardigan Bay will not be going ahead, following my correspondence with the BEIS Minister.”

There was criticism from Goodwick-based marine conservation company SeaTrust when the plans were announced, with spokesman Cliff Benson describing the survey as “the equivalent of dropping bombs on the Serengeti to drive the animals away.”

"If we allow companies like ENI UK Ltd to disturb our whales and dolphins in their breeding grounds for speculative, highly-disruptive seismic surveys, inspired only by profit, we could easily lose 80 per cent of our marine marine wildlife in a lot less than 50 years," said Mr Benson.

Pembrokeshire Friends of the Earth also wrote to the business secretary to voice their concerns.

Gordon James, campaigner with Pembrokeshire Friends of the Earth, said the group now planned to call on Eni UK Ltd to scrap plans for the survey entirely, instead of suspending them.

“We are delighted to learn that this outrageous plan to search for oil and gas in one of the UK’s most valuable marine wildlife areas has been suspended,” he said.

“The proposal triggered an extremely angry response throughout West Wales and further afield. It made a mockery of the declaration of a climate change emergency by the Welsh Government and the House of Commons and flew in the face of growing international concern about wildlife extinction. We now call upon the company to totally scrap, rather than just suspend, this application.

“We also call upon the Welsh Government to tighten their policies to ensure that this sort of application cannot happen again”.