PLANS that could have seen 500 new jobs created at the former RNAD site at Blackbridge have been turned down.

Following an 18-month application process, planning inspector Clive Nield recommended the original application, and subsequent amendments, be turned down.

The refusal has been backed by Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths.

In a letter released today, the main issues highlighted included the impact on ecology and the local landscape, and the impact of extra traffic on the area.

In his reports, Mr Nield said he believed the proposed scheme would be "unacceptably harmful to the character and appearance of the area" in respect of two 'prominently located' greenhouses, and associated changes to the landform at the Blackbridge site and in respect of the car park and buildings outside the settlement boundary at Waterston.

He said there were also "important shortcomings" in the environmental data and the possibility of adverse effects on wildlife.

"Whilst the scheme would bring a number of useful benefits, I consider these would be substantially outweighed by the harmful and potentially harmful effects described above," he said.

The Cypriot-owned renewable energy company first announced plans to invest £685 million in a Centre of Renewable Energy Excellence in 2015.

But fierce opposition was raised by environmental campaigners, who raised concerns over the technology Egnedol planned to use.

Progress was put on hold in April 2017, when Planning Inspectorate Wales (PINS) said the firm's environmental etatement was considered "inadequate" in respect of effects on several protected species and habitats.

Steve Whitehouse, Vice President, Project Development at Egnedol said: "Egnedol regrets the recent Welsh Government’s decision to turn down the proposed Biomass to Energy Facility and Eco-park project in Milford Haven.

"Whilst we were pleased to note that the Inspector had no adverse comments upon the proposed technology or upon its impact, we are sorry to note that the DNS application was rejected primarily on the basis of potential impact of three ship movements per week upon the wider marine environment.

"Egnedol find this particularly confusing as the site lies within an area designated by the Welsh Government for increased port and shipping use.

"Egnedol feel that the overwhelming economic benefits that this international inward investment would provide both for the environment and the local and national economy has not been considered within the decision and believe that this decision is totally inconsistent with the UK aspirations to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels and to reduce carbon emissions.

"The investment would create a truly sustainable bio-refinery that is fully in line with UK Government aspirations.

"Egnedol’s team is reviewing the decision in order to define the next steps.”