The Welsh Liberal Democrats have expressed fears for the future of the planned Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon, after the project was not mentioned once in the Energy Secretary’s key speech today.
The project was spearheaded by former Liberal Democrat Energy Secretary Ed Davey, who led a renewed commitment to new renewable energy technologies as part of the Coalition Government.
Despite being an ongoing major energy project today’s speech by Energy Secretary Amber Rudd, dubbed "a new direction for UK energy policy", failed to even refer to it.
Peter Black AM, Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for South Wales West, said:
"For such a major energy project to not get a single mention in the Minister’s speech is a very worrying sign. I sincerely hope that the Conservatives aren’t getting cold feet and starting to row back on this vital scheme.
"The tidal lagoon will create and support thousands of jobs in the Swansea Bay area, as well as make Wales a world leader in this exciting new green technology. The opportunity here is immense – that’s why the Liberal Democrats spent so long in Government ensuring that this scheme would become a reality.
"We’ve already seen dithering and feet-dragging by Conservative ministers on the tidal lagoon, but climate change won’t wait for them to get their ducks in order. We need action and swift assurances from the UK Government as soon as possible."
The speech also contained very little mention of support for other new renewable technologies, a key focus of the Liberal Democrats during their time in Government.
William Powell AM, Welsh Liberal Democrat Shadow Environment Minister, added:
"If anyone ever doubted the importance of having Liberal Democrats in Government, this speech spells it out in black and white. If this is the new direction for our energy policy, I think the Conservatives need to turn around as soon as possible.
"This speech is a clear sign that the Conservatives are set on rowing back years of hard work by Lib Dem ministers on encouraging green energy and expanding renewables. The Tories are abandoning all pretence of caring about climate change."
The full text of Amber Rudd’s speech can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/amber-rudds-speech-on-a-new-direction-for-uk-energy-policy