Wales politics

Government won't be rushed on Swansea tidal on lagoon, says minister

Artist's impression of the lagoon across Swansea Bay Image copyright TLP
Image caption An artist's impression of the lagoon across Swansea Bay

A UK government decision on whether to approve the proposed Swansea Bay tidal lagoon "will not be rushed", the House of Lords has been told.

Business minister Lord Henley spoke more than a year after a government-commissioned report backed the scheme.

"A decision will be taken at the appropriate time", he said.

Conservative Lady Finn said it was time to "cut through the procrastinating" and go ahead with a project supporters say could power 120,000 homes.

Another, Lady Bloomfield, said the decision "has just been in the long grass for long enough".

Lord Henley said no decisions had been made.

"Work associated with the Hendry review and the proposed Swansea Bay tidal lagoon continues," he said.

"The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy remains focused on it. Any decision will have to represent value-for-money for the United Kingdom taxpayer as well as the consumer."

But Tory Lady Finn of Swansea said the Hendry report said the project would cost households less than the equivalent of a pint of milk each year. ]

"It is now time to do what the late, great Lord Crickhowell did with the Cardiff Bay regeneration project - cut through the procrastinating and just get on with it."

The minister told her: "There are a number of matters to consider, not just those she mentioned, but also the costs, environmental considerations.

"We will take all those into consideration and along with the Welsh Government make an announcement when it is appropriate."

Former Plaid Cymru leader Lord Wigley said: "What on earth is taking so long about such a decision? Isn't it an appalling example for business and everybody else that the government is so slow about this matter.

"Yes, the costs have to be taken into consideration but it's a matter of taking a decision on the basis of the information. Surely we should be getting on with it."

Lord Henley replied: "The government will not be rushed."

'Expensive'

Labour peer Lord Anderson said the review completed more than a year ago was positive. "What further evidence does the government need?"

Lord Henley told him: "It's not a question of needing further evidence, it's a matter of considering the evidence that is before us, evidence relating to costs.

"Obviously it would be a very expensive operation, environmental considerations and all other matters.

Former Labour Welsh Secretary Lord Morris said the delay, and the cancellation of rail electrification, gave the impression that south west Wales was "at the bottom of the queue".

The minister replied: "A decision will be taken at the appropriate time but we do not want to be rushed into it."

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