South West Wales

Swansea Bay tidal lagoon plan 'catastrophic mistake' claim

The oyster-shaped visitor centre would be self-sufficient, according to the developer Image copyright Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay Ltd
Image caption The project also includes an oyster-shaped offshore visitor centre and national triathlon and water sports facilities

Building an £850m tidal lagoon in Swansea Bay would be a catastrophic mistake, claims one of the city's MPs.

The six-mile, U-shaped seawall will go from Swansea docks to near Swansea University's new Fabian Way campus.

The Planning Inspectorate has asked the public to make its representation about the lagoon, which could provide power for 120,000 homes for 120 years.

But Swansea West MP Geraint Davies said the project would harm tourism and the views of Swansea Bay.

"The £360m tourist economy of Swansea Bay is up 4% on last year and the [Swansea] council plans to boost growth through destination marketing," Mr Davies told MPs in Parliament.

"Meanwhile, the proposed Swansea Lagoon could generate electricity for 121,000 homes for up to 14 hours a day.

"The idea of blighting our iconic view and future tourist economy with a power station feeding the grid with only part of the energy needs for just 121,000 homes, part of the day, is astounding.

"It would be a catastrophic mistake setting aside legitimate concerns over contamination of Swansea Bay and the depopulation of the Gower of its sands."

If given the go-ahead, the lagoon would take two years to build and create 1,850 construction jobs.

There would also be 60 long-term operational jobs with up to another 90 linked to visitor spending and it is hoped it could be operating by 2018.

'Ugly scar'

The project also includes an oyster-shaped offshore visitor centre and national triathlon and water sports facilities

A report by Cardiff University in December - commissioned by the developer Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay Ltd - said the lagoon would create over £5m annual local spend.

South Wales West AM Peter Black previously said the lagoon "has the potential to bring a massive economic boost for Swansea and surrounding areas".

Friends of the Earth (FoE) Cymru and Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust have also backed the plans.

But Mr Davies disagrees adding: "Swansea should not be left with an ugly scar on its signature view that will undermine our vision of developing a high quality high value cultural and tourist destination, riding on a global brand name from our football success.

"Let's make sure we safeguard that future for Swansea Bay and don't blight our most valuable natural asset."

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