Stephen Doughty the Labour MP for Cardiff South and Penarth has again re-iterated his support for the controversial Penarth/Cardiff Tidal Lagoon scheme – this time in a parliamentary debate.
The scheme involves building a huge lagoon wall from Cardiff to a point in line with Penarth Pier and placing more than 90-turbines in the waters immediately off Penarth – wrecking the view North East from Penarth and creating difficulties for ships and boats using the Wrach Channel into Cardiff Docks, Cardiff Bay and Penarth Marina.
Doughty was speaking in a largely deserted debate – which he himself had initiated – on the motion that “This House has considered the effect of the UK leaving the EU on infrastructure in Wales”.
Doughty criticised the Prime Minister Theresa May, for not chosing to make her speech on EU membership in Parliament [ Mrs May was also not present at Doughty’s debate] saying “this would not have happened under Churchill, it wouldn’t have happened under Thatcher, but this lady doesn’t seem to be for turning-up when it comes to this place and this issue.” – a comment which failed to register with the few MPs present.
On the tidal lagoon project Doughty said : “I have long supported the principle of tidal power coming from the Severn estuary. There have been concerns about some of the projects proposed, but I am interested in, and support, the proposals for tidal lagoons. Obviously each needs to be judged on its own merits—and particularly the Swansea one. So much work has gone into that and it is crucial that we now provide certainty on delivery and funding to enable it to go ahead.”
Returning to tidal lagoons later in the proceedings, he said “Many prospective infrastructure projects are yet to be properly finalised, such as the Swansea Bay City Deal, the North Wales growth deal, the South Wales metro, which I raised in a previous debate and is of great concern to my constituents in Cardiff South and Penarth and of course the tidal lagoons.”
He added “Of course, the uncertainty around those projects has not only been caused by the referendum result; there are other factors at play, but that is a crucial part of whether those projects go forward”.
Responding – Guto Bebb the Parliamentary Under Secretary for Wales – said : “Those of us who support the concept of tidal lagoons undoubtedly welcome the Hendry report, which was published last Thursday. News broke of Charles Hendry’s positive comments while I was at the mobile infrastructure summit in Cardiff Bay. The report was positive, but it was complex, too, and it needs to be looked at in-depth. I sincerely hope that the Government will be able to respond in due course from a financial point of view to the issues with the cost of the tidal lagoon and the impact on the taxpayer and the electricity consumer. There is no doubt that the report was positive and needs to be taken seriously within Government. When the report was commissioned, many people said that the issue was being kicked into the long grass, but if they were looking for a negative report, that was not what they received. We are looking at the matter carefully, but there are no doubt issues still to be addressed over the next few months.”