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Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon

Volume 615: debated on Wednesday 19 October 2016

4. What recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on the Swansea bay tidal lagoon. (906615)

I remain in close contact with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on the proposed lagoon at Swansea bay. This is an exciting project for Wales. I am due to meet Charles Hendry tomorrow to gain an update on the progress of the independent review, and I look forward to reading the findings when he reports later this autumn.

Last week, Sheffield Forgemasters and a host of other industrial companies in the northern powerhouse urged Charles Hendry to back a new tidal lagoon project, so I welcome the Secretary of State’s comments. If the Government will not listen to Wales, will they listen to the industrial north and finally get on with the Swansea bay tidal lagoon project ?

I recognise the hon. Lady’s interest in all things environmental, but Charles Hendry’s review has been seen as a positive intervention. The approach he has taken has been welcomed, as has been pointed out, not only by the lagoon company, local authorities and politicians, but by the business community in south Wales and across the northern powerhouse. We recognise the contribution that it could make, and we are looking forward to his judgment.

While it is important to take the findings of the Hendry review into account, will the Secretary of State press for progress on this exciting project as soon as it reports? The project not only has the potential to deliver clean energy, but will continue to build on the success, vibrancy and ambition that characterises Swansea and Wales.

My hon. Friend, like me, looks forward to the Charles Hendry report. There is no doubt that, as a test project, it has great potential for Swansea bay, but he, like me, has an obligation to the taxpayer to ensure that it works for consumers and taxpayers, and that it represents good value for money for all concerned.

13. Having taken a bloody nose for Hinkley and a black eye for fracking, is it not about time that this Government took an energy decision that enjoys the full support of this House and of the population at large? Why hold up any further the British-made, British-owned tidal lagoon projects that could change the fortunes not only of Wales, but of manufacturing businesses across the country? (906624)

The hon. Lady and I agree that we would like something like that to be developed and to go ahead for the prospects and opportunities it will provide, but we have an obligation to the taxpayer: we have to ensure that it provides value for money. Only in recent weeks, the hon. Lady and her colleagues have complained about the cost of energy for Tata and other energy-intensive industries. It is important that we generate energy in a cost-effective way that suits consumers as well as taxpayers.