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Lib Dems say Swansea tidal lagoon ‘must go ahead’

Words: Laura Edgar
Tim Farron

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron has accused the UK government of dithering and said the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon “has to go ahead”.

Speaking at the Welsh Liberal Democrat party conference, Farron also questioned the government’s green energy policies and its stance on climate change.

He said that since last year’s general election much of what the Liberal Democrats achieved as part of the coalition government – such as planting “over a million trees” and a £500 million investment in low-emission vehicles – “has been undone by the Tories”.

The Lib Dem leader highlighted what has been announced since last May’s election, including “cuts to subsidies for solar energy… with up to 19,000 job losses”, cuts to onshore wind energy subsidies and the abolition of the rules on Zero Carbon Homes.

He continued: “And you know exactly how little regard he [Prime Minister David Cameron] has for a sustainable future with his latest dithering over the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon”.

“It has to go ahead,” Farron insisted. He told the conference it will provide “hundreds of jobs and supply energy for 120 years”.

It would, he continued, “be utter madness” for the government to “pull further investment” from the renewable sector, which generates economic growth and jobs.

“The Tidal Lagoon is a litmus test for the government. Do you care about this agenda? Or was it all for show?” he said.

The Swansea Bay project, which is awaiting a funding decision from the Department of Energy and Climate Change, would see 16 turbines, situated about a mile out to sea, generating 320 megawatts of power. This would be converted to electricity.

In January, Cameron voiced concern at the cost of power produced by the lagoon. Questioned by MPs on the Commons Liaison Committee, Cameron said he had so far not seen a subsidy, or strike price “that is very attractive”.

Farron’s full speech can be found on the Liberal Democrat Voice.

Image credit | Liberal Democrats