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Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon looks to private sector to revive project

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Backers of the £1.3bn Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon are looking to the private sector to revive the project.

A taskforce set up by the Swansea Bay City Region is calling on “major companies” to deliver the project.

In June, Business secretary Greg Clark confirmed that the government would not back the first-of-a-kind scheme despite several attempts to breathe life into the project, including a £200M offer from the Welsh Government. It took 18 months for the British Government to make its decision after ex-energy minister Charles Hendry said backing the project would be a “no-regrets policy” in January 2017.

However, the project could still go ahead, with taskforce chair & Swansea Council leader Rob Stewart tabling a proposal led by the private sector.

“We’ve spent the past three months re-evaluating the project and agreeing the best way to structure a deal that will deliver a tidal lagoon,” Stewart said. “Unlike the previous proposal, we believe it should be a private sector-led development that doesn’t rely on government or local government subsidy to pay for it.

He added: “This could range from large financial institutions who want to invest in the project to major construction companies who want to build the lagoon.

“Once we know the type and level of interest from the private sector, we can consider the best route to take to ensure we deliver this project and pave the way for a new industry where Swansea Bay, Wales and the UK can be a global leader.”

A prior information notice (PIN) is set to be published for potential investors to register their interest.

The PIN will state that the Swansea Bay City Region is seeking a partner or partners to undertake the delivery of the development, either through a partner development arrangement or joint venture.

The fundamental requirement of this project is to be ‘‘stand alone’’, requiring no form of subsidy. However, the Welsh Government has indicated that it is prepared to make a significant investment alongside an appropriate institutional partner/investor.

The partner or partners will be required to conclude the detailed planning, design and licencing, obtain all appropriate permissions and secure funding for the realisation of the lagoon.

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