Contact details

contact email address

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Tim Farron attacks David Cameron's "utter madness" in discarding the Swansea Tidal Lagoon

The Tory Government must give its full backing to the £1bn Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon and allay fears about its future, Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron will say in a speech to to the Welsh Liberal Democrat conference today (Saturday) in Cardiff.

The Prime Minister, David Cameron, recently told the powerful backbench Liaison Committee of MPs "that is the challenge for tidal." He went on to say: "They are very long-term schemes with big investments up front, and they can last for many, many years, but right now my enthusiasm is reduced slightly by the fact that the cost would be quite high."

But Tim Farron will say that the project is a key test for the Government’s commitment to the green energy sector. The building of a £1bn tidal energy lagoon in Swansea Bay has been delayed by around a year as negotiations over the level of UK government funding for the project continue.

Former Liberal Democrat Energy Secretary Ed Davey gave the initial go-ahead for the scheme. Since the Tories gained a majority in Westminster, at May's general election, enthusiasm has cooled towards the project, with new Energy Secretary Amber Rudd completely omitting the scheme from a recent keynote speech on energy infrastructure.

In his speech Tim Farron will say that "the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon must go ahead. It will provide hundreds of jobs and supply energy for 120 years – over three times as long as a nuclear plant."

Talking about what he sees as the benefits of a Tidal Lagoon and criticising what appear to be Tory plans not to proceed with it, Mr Farron will say: "It would be utter madness for the Government to pull further investment from the renewable sector which generates economic growth and jobs. We have been a world leader in this field and maintaining that status is now in jeopardy."

Tim Farron will criticise the Tories for undoing what was put in place by the Tory/Lib Dem Coalition by saying: "The Tidal Lagoon is a litmus test for the Government. Do you care about this agenda? Or was it all for show? For five years we fought sceptical Tories to ensure the Coalition was the greenest Government ever. In the last six months this progress has been unraveling at an alarming pace."

Having a dig at Mr Cameron for his 2006 'hug a husky' photo-op Mr Farron will say: "The huskies, shot by Cameron ages ago when their usefulness to him had run its course, will be turning in their graves. I also feel sorry for Amber Rudd who was told by the Prime Minister that they‘d gone to live on a farm in Devon."

Arguing that Britain should leading on 'climate change' and the Tories undermining that, Tim Farron will say: "It is shameful that the work we began in Coalition to deliver this is being unpicked. Britain should be leading the world in the green economy and setting an example to other nations after the UN talks in Paris."