The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee and the Welsh Affairs Committee have announced an inquiry into the UK government’s decision-making process for Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon and will examine the reasons behind the failure to reach a final decision five years after the exploratory discussions began.
The committees will investigate delays and obstacles in the decision-making process in two sessions and have scheduled the first one for May 9.
“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,” said Rachel Reeves, BEIS Committee Chair. “The Government consistent failure to give a clear indication of whether they will provide taxpayer support has left investors in limbo.”
“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,” Reeves said.
In the first of two planned sessions for the inquiry, the committees will hear from witnesses including Rt Hon Charles Hendry, the author of an independent review into the planned Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon, the developer Tidal Lagoon Power, representatives from the RSPB, 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.
David T.C. Davies, Welsh Affairs Committee Chair, said: “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.”
To remind, at the beginning of this year, the First Minister for Wales Carwyn Jones committed to a substantial investment to cover some of the tidal lagoon’s capital costs, while at the same time urging the UK government to grant the project the green light.
The proposed £1.3 billion Swansea Bay tidal lagoon will have a capacity of 320MW and a lifespan of 120 years. If constructed, it will be capable of generating electricity for 155,000 homes.