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Countdown clock ups pressure for Swansea Bay decision

Lagoon wall  Tidal Lagoon Power  3x2

A giant clock has appeared in Swansea city centre counting down the days until the anniversary of the Hendry review into tidal lagoons, to which the government has still not responded.

Swansea Council is behind the stunt, which aims to highlight the government’s glacial pace in responding to the Hendry review, published 12 January last year. It hopes to pressure the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) into taking a stance on the £1.3bn Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon.

Author of the review Charles Hendry recommended giving the go ahead for the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon pathfinder project but so far the government, which commissioned the report in May 2016, has remained silent.

Swansea Council leader Rob Stewart expressed his frustration at the lack of progress since the review was published.

“There’s no reason why the lagoon cannot go ahead. We are all ready to go but every day that we are delayed puts the lagoon at risk,” he told WalesOnline.

“It’s been more than 300 days since the Charles Hendry report came out and told the government that it could go ahead, but they are continuing to dilly dally with no explanation. We want them to make a decision as soon as possible.”

Last month Welsh secretary Alun Cairns told the Commons Welsh Affairs Select Committee that although he was a supporter of the Swansea lagoon, government approval was dependent on costs.

“This has got to be value for money and none of us really should ever want it if it’s not good value for money because ultimately it’s consumers and taxpayers that have to pay for it,” said Cairns.

“So on that basis we are doing everything possible to try to make it fit but it has got to be down to the numbers eventually.”

He added: “None of us should want any policy that adds to energy costs for consumers and businesses who are the wealth creators.”

BEIS admitted there was a commercial pressure to deliver a response to the review, but stressed it was still weighing up whether a programme of new tidal lagoons would offer good value for money.

A spokesperson for BEIS said: “The Government is considering the recommendations of the Hendry Review and taking the time needed to determine what is in the best interests of UK energy consumers and taxpayers in the long term. We will publish our response in due course.”

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