One year on from the Hendry Review, Wales still has no firm answers on the planned tidal lagoon development which promises to bring over 2000 jobs to Wales.
The project was cited in the UK government’s 2014 National Infrastructure Plan and received planning permission back in 2015. However, there has been little progress since and the Government have failed to respond to recommendations within the review.
Back in October, Gower MP Tonia Antoniazzi tried to pressure Prime Minister Teresa May into giving Wales a date for a decision on the zero-carbon tidal lagoon scheme, but May blamed the delay on ‘complex issues’ and refused to be drawn any further on the subject. Later, in November, over 100 Welsh Businesses joined forces to champion the project, and in December 2017, the developer said it remained optimistic of the lagoon being approved in the near future despite reports to the contrary.
If the development goes ahead, the lagoon promises to supply power to 155,000 homes and sustain around 2,232 construction and manufacturing jobs.
However, a former chief strategist to Theresa May, Chris Wilkins, told Wales Online last month that senior figures in Whitehall are heavily opposed to the project.
So what IS happening with the tidal lagoon? Currently, those in the know don’t seem willing to share, and FSB Wales, who represent small businesses in Wales, say it’s time for some serious answers.
Janet Jones, FSB Wales Policy Chair, said:
“The uncertainty surrounding this project must be tackled as early as possible in 2018. It is disappointing that a year on, we are still waiting on a decision from UK Government on this crucial project.
“We have welcomed moves from UK Government this week to cut the Severn Bridge tolls ahead of scrapping them all together, and their ambition that this should bring investment to South Wales. However, that ambition should not stop at this development, and there should be equal enthusiasm for the potential of the Tidal Lagoon.
“The Tidal Lagoon has universal business support, made an early commitment to a localised supply chain, and has regenerative potential for the region. At a time of declining business confidence in Wales, giving a clear and positive answer on the Tidal Lagoon will send an encouraging message to South West Wales.
“Businesses in Wales have been waiting on this decision from UK Government for a year, and it is time that they are given one.”