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Industry News

Ministers slam brakes on Circuit of Wales decision

The Circuit of Wales multi-purpose infrastructure project has been met with another setback after Welsh ministers accused developers of giving “inaccurate” information.

A decision was initially expected in March, but will now take “a final few weeks,” according to the Welsh Government.

The firm behind the project has requested a £210m (€246m/$273m) taxpayer-funded guarantee, which is almost half of the cost of the scheme. Meanwhile, the company claims it had responded to every question on a “complex project with thousands of pages of information,” according to the BBC. 

Despite being privately funded, developers of the Circuit of Wales have asked ministers to guarantee almost half of the £425m cost.

Ministers have been accused of trying to “bury bad news” by Conservatives and Plaid Cymru.

Economy Secretary Ken Skates said officials and external advisers “identified many material gaps and inaccuracies in the information contained within the Circuit of Wales application.”

Following Skates’ announcement in February that plans would be thoroughly dissected as part of a due diligence process that would take four to six weeks, he then said no decision could be made until mid-May because the firm had not presented all of the required information.

Skates told opposing ministers that he was still excited by the project and would not “not short-circuit the due diligence process”.

The Circuit of Wales said in a statement: “The development is a complex project with thousands of pages of information and we have responded to every additional question asked by the Welsh Government during the due diligence process, a process that is complex and time-consuming and amounts to a forensic scrutiny of every aspect of the company’s proposal.

“We look forward to a positive announcement in the coming weeks that will allow us to commence construction on a destination that is being fully funded by the private sector and will have a transformational impact on the south Wales valleys region and deliver investment and new full-time sustainable jobs.”

According to the latest projections, once complete, the Circuit of Wales site will attract 750,000 visitors each year, and inject around £50m a year into the Welsh economy.