Hendry Review: Tidal Lagoons

Oral Answers to Questions — Wales – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 6th September 2017.

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Photo of Neil Parish Neil Parish Chair, Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee 12:00 am, 6th September 2017

What discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on the date of publication of the Government response to the Hendry review on tidal lagoons.

Photo of Guto Bebb Guto Bebb Government Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales

The Wales Office has had close discussions with ministerial colleagues following the publication of the Hendry review. The lagoon at Swansea is an exciting project, but it is essential that it delivers value for money for the energy consumer and for the taxpayer.

Photo of Neil Parish Neil Parish Chair, Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee

It is nine months since the Hendry review strongly endorsed the tidal lagoon at Swansea, where the rise and fall in the tide is the second highest in the world. It would unlock power for generations, not only on the Welsh side but on the other side of the Bristol channel. When are Ministers going to make a decision?

Photo of Guto Bebb Guto Bebb Government Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales

My hon. Friend is undoubtedly a champion for this new technology. However, it has to be stated on record that although the Hendry review was supportive of a tidal lagoon in Swansea, no real financial issues were dealt with in that report. It is necessary that we make the right decision not just in terms of the concept of a tidal lagoon in Swansea, but for the energy price that the consumer will pay and for the taxpayer. We will make the right decision in due course. [Interruption.]

Photo of John Bercow John Bercow Speaker of the House of Commons, Chair, Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, Chair, Commons Reference Group on Representation and Inclusion Committee

Order. There are far too many noisy private conversations taking place in the Chamber. I want to hear the views of Albert Owen on the matter of tidal lagoons.

Photo of Albert Owen Albert Owen Labour, Ynys Môn

As has been indicated, the Hendry review was set up by the Conservative party, and the framework to finance these big projects was set up by the Conservatives. It is time, now, to stop talking and start delivering for Wales. I urge the Wales Office to stand up for Wales on this project and deliver for Wales.

Photo of Guto Bebb Guto Bebb Government Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales

The hon. Gentleman is undoubtedly a champion of energy projects across Wales and, indeed, in his own constituency of Anglesey. He will understand, as I do, that such decisions must be right in relation to the costs for the taxpayer and the energy consumer. We will ensure that the decision, when it is made, takes all issues into account, and that it is right for the energy consumer and the people of Wales.

Photo of Theresa Villiers Theresa Villiers Conservative, Chipping Barnet

Will the Minister make renewable energy in Wales a priority so that it can play its full part in delivering our important goals on energy security and tackling climate change?

Photo of Guto Bebb Guto Bebb Government Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales

The development of energy policy in Wales is about energy security. It is about securing our energy supply for the future, which is why I and my colleague in the Wales Office are always involved with projects such as the new Wylfa power station in Anglesey. We are looking at small modular reactors for parts of Wales, and we are, indeed, still looking at the tidal lagoon in Swansea.

Photo of Christina Rees Christina Rees Shadow Secretary of State for Wales

Wales has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to become the world leader in tidal lagoons. The Swansea Bay tidal lagoon alone will generate 2,000 jobs and contribute £300 million to the Welsh economy during its construction. Welsh Labour MPs, the Welsh Labour Government and many public faces and campaigners have declared that they “Love the Lagoon”, so why are the Government refusing to publish their response to the Hendry review and, in so doing, putting the project at risk?

Photo of Guto Bebb Guto Bebb Government Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales

At the risk of repeating myself, the hon. Lady highlights the fact that there is support for the concept in Wales—indeed, there is. But she also needs to be honest about the fact that the Labour Government in Wales, Labour MPs from Wales and Labour Assembly Members from Wales have highlighted the danger of high energy prices for the steel industry, for example. We need to make a decision that is right for industry in Wales and for the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon, but we need to do that on a calculated basis, looking at the facts. That is what we will do.