COMMONS

Government’s consideration of the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon investigated

09 May 2018

The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee and the Welsh Affairs Committee announce plans to scrutinise the decision-making process for the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon project.

The BEIS Committee and the Welsh Affairs Committee look at the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon and investigate delays and obstacles in the decision-making process.

The Committees examine the steps and stakeholders involved in the decision process and the reasons for the Government’s failure to reach a decision on whether it will support the Lagoon, since exploratory discussions with the Government began in 2013.

In the first of two planned sessions for the inquiry, the Committees hear from witnesses including Rt Hon Charles Hendry, author of an independent review into the planned Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon, and from the RSPB, Tidal Lagoon Power, energy consultancy Aurora Energy Research Ltd, and from Natural Resources Wales and The Crown Estate.

At a second session, the Committees will question stakeholders and Ministers from the Welsh and UK Governments on progress made towards reaching a final decision.

Clarity needed

Rachel Reeves, BEIS Committee Chair, said:

"The Swansea Tidal Lagoon project has been a tale of indecision with the Government having dithered over this for five years and still to reply to the Hendry Review, published over a year ago.

The Government consistent failure to give a clear indication of whether they will provide taxpayer support has left investors in limbo.

In this inquiry, we are keen to explore the decision-making process, to get clarity on the next steps for the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon, and how government can learn the lessons for future projects of this kind.

The Committee on Climate Change say the UK will fall short in reaching the targets of its Carbon Budgets. Tough choices will need to be made.

If the Government wants to go ahead with this project, then it needs to say so urgently. If not, then it must get on with it and let the public and investors know of its intentions."

Costs and benefits of the project assessed

David T.C. Davies, Welsh Affairs Committee Chair, said:

"At this point, the Swansea Tidal Lagoon has that all too familiar feeling of an infrastructure project which appears to offer much, but there are still serious questions to be asked about the value for money of the project, and possible environmental impacts.

We are looking forward to hearing from Tidal Lagoon Power and a range of interested parties – both those in favour and those sceptical of the Lagoon – to better understand the true costs and benefits of project. 

Without backing from the Welsh and UK Government the Tidal Lagoon will not progress.

The UK Government continue to delay deciding on whether to support this project, and while the Welsh Government has offered funding to kick-start the project, this offer lacks detail. This session will help us understand if that backing would be worthwhile."

Witnesses

Wednesday 9 May.

At their first joint session, the Committees hear from the following witnesses:

At 10.05am

  • Mark Shorrock, Chief Executive, Tidal Lagoon Power
  • Rt Hon Charles Hendry, head of independent review into Swansea Tidal Lagoon
  • Richard Howard, Head of Research, Aurora Energy Research Ltd
  • Mike Wilkinson, Senior Conservation Planner, RSPB

At 11am

  • John Wheadon, Permitting Service Manager, Natural Resources Wales
  • Dr David Tudor, Portfolio Manager – Marine Infrastructure, The Crown Estate
  • Martyn Evans, Head of South West Wales Operations, Natural Resources Wales

Further information

Image: iStock

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