Following the release of the Autumn Statement by the Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond, the Welsh Liberal Democrats have deemed the lack of action on Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon (SBTL) as a ‘kick in the gut’.
Hammond published the Autumn Statement on November 23, outlining the UK government’s plans for the future of and how it will ready UK’s economy and communities for Brexit.
Commenting on the statement, Mark Williams, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats and MP for Ceredigion, said: “The announcement falls far short of delivering for Wales. The omission of the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon is a telling sign of this Government’s flailing commitment to our environment. Philip Hammond may pat himself on the back for committing £400 million to Wales, but this is a token gesture from a government totally out of touch with the needs of Wales and our communities.”
Welsh Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for the Environment, William Powell, has also responded to the statement, saying: “Tackling climate change shouldn’t just be seen as an obligation, but more as an opportunity to build a stronger, greener economy here in Wales. With the right ambition, we could lead the way in renewable technologies and in creating a circular economy.
“The announcement will come as a shock to the Swansea region and the industry in Wales. Since 2015 the progress made on green energy schemes by the Liberal Democrats between 2010 and 2015 has been unravelled at an alarming pace. This trend must stop.”
Peter Black, former South Wales West AM, commented on the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon omission from the statement, saying: “This project would be the first project of its kind in the world and would significantly drive economic growth for our local communities and our region. Today’s lack of action is a kick in the gut for our communities and for our environment.
“Tidal energy has the potential to provide hundreds of local jobs and supply energy for 120 years – over three times as long as a nuclear plant – a step we must take if we are to meet our climate change targets.
“For too long the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon has been clouded by uncertainty. This Government must urgently address this uncertainty for communities and industry and make good their commitment to delivering this £1 billion investment in South West Wales.”
The Swansea Bay tidal lagoon will have the capacity of 320MW once fully constructed, which is enough to power approximately 155,000 of Welsh households.
The construction of the lagoon could begin after the results of the independent review of cost-effectiveness of tidal lagoons, commissioned by the UK government and led by Charles Hendry, are revealed this autumn.