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Tidal Lagoons

Volume 589: debated on Thursday 18 December 2014

4. What assessment he has made of the potential contribution of tidal lagoons to the UK’s energy supply. (906713)

Tidal energy offers huge potential. Tidal lagoons alone could provide for up to 8% of the UK’s energy needs. To help with progress of tidal deployment, as part of the autumn statement, we announced a commitment to starting closer discussions with Tidal Lagoons Ltd to establish potential at Swansea bay. In addition, we have made a number of studies of UK tidal potential.

Others have remarked upon it, Mr Speaker. It is good news that the Government are in discussions with the proposed developers of the Swansea tidal lagoon. Does my hon. Friend agree that proposals for a much larger lagoon at Colwyn bay also merit serious consideration? Does she also agree that a chain of lagoons along the west coast could make a huge contribution to British energy security?

I thank my right hon. Friend for that question. As he rightly says, tidal power provides a huge opportunity for the UK. My Department has started to explore the potential for a future lagoon programme and is aware of proposals for the tidal lagoons at Colwyn bay. Any such scheme will need to demonstrate strong evidence of value for money, economic benefits, energy saving and environmental impact mitigation before the Government could take a view on its potential, but I share his enthusiasm.

May I say merry Christmas to everyone, Mr Speaker? That should help climate change because I do not have to send out cards now. How are the Government’s talks on the Swansea tidal lagoon, which were announced during the autumn statement, progressing? As part of the studies that the Government are undertaking, are they working with the Welsh Government to look at proposals for a possible tidal lagoon, again on a larger scale, between Cardiff and Newport?

May I also exchange Christmas greetings with the hon. Gentleman? We are doing our best to progress with the Swansea bay tidal lagoon. He will be aware that there is only so much the Government can say at this stage, because there are other issues to consider. We will continue to keep an open mind to as many opportunities as possible, as long as we can reassure ourselves that there are clear economic benefits.