The Welsh Liberal Democrats have condemned the UK Government decision not to proceed with the Swansea Bay lagoon as a huge missed opportunity and another example of the Conservatives’ neglect of Wales.
It was a project which would power 150,000 households for 120 year, a program of lagoons at Swansea, Newport, Cardiff and Colwyn Bay which would create over 34,000 jobs in Wales alone. And Wales does need jobs. It was championed by the Lib Dems in Government, but, as has happened with so many Lib Dem ideas, it’s been cancelled today by the Tories.
The lagoon was strongly backed by the government commissioned Hendry review in January 2017 and is supported by businesses, councils, MPs and AMs from all parties. The lagoon would have acted as a pathfinder project for other lagoons across Wales including Newport, Cardiff and Colwyn Bay.
Welsh Liberal Democrats have long campaigned for the Swansea Tidal Lagoon to be given the go-ahead, leading calls for Wales to be home to the world's first tidal lagoon. The lagoon was a key priority for the Liberal Democrats in Coalition, and the Conservatives’ failure to support the lagoon since has rolled back the Liberal Democrats' green revolution.
Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds was furious that the opportunity to make Wales a world leader in green energy had been thrown away:
"The Conservatives’ rejection of the Swansea Tidal Lagoon is a disgrace. The Swansea Tidal Lagoon would be a vital first step in making Wales a world leader in green energy, bringing untold environmental and economic benefits to the community, Wales and the UK.
The Welsh Liberal Democrats have consistently supported the Swansea Tidal Lagoon as a key part of our plans to develop an innovative, radical and ambitious green economy in Wales. It is deeply disappointing the Conservatives do not share our ambition.
When Ed Davey was Secretary of State for Climate Change he was totally behind the project. He called the cancellation an “historic mistake.”
"As Secretary of State I consistently supported the Swansea Tidal Lagoon, it is deeply disappointing the Conservatives are making a historic mistake by rejecting it now. This is yet more evidence that only the Liberal Democrats can be trusted to prioritise the environment and green energy.
It is a myth that the lagoon would be too expensive. Government concerns about the cost ring hollow considering the strike price for the lagoon would be no more than the Government were willing to pay for nuclear power at Hinkley.
Wind power is now the cheapest source of energy available because we invested in it in Coalition. The same will happen with tidal energy if we only invest in it now. A series of tidal lagoons would provide cost-effective, reliable and green energy for generations to come."
Peter Black, who represented the area in the Welsh Assembly and is still a Swansea Councillor said the decision proved that the Conservatives didn’t care about Wales:
"The rejection of the Swansea Tidal Lagoon is a bitter pill to swallow. This is yet another betrayal of the people of Wales and particularly South Wales by the UK government. Whilst they cancel rail electrification to Swansea and reject the Swansea Tidal Lagoon, the Conservatives have no problems finding money for projects in South East England. This lays bare just how little this Conservative UK Government cares about Wales."