Ti­dal la­goon plans could be de­layed

South Wales Echo - - NEWS -

THE ti­dal la­goon planned for Cardiff could be de­layed fol­low­ing the Hendry re­view into ti­dal la­goon en­ergy which was pub­lished yes­ter­day.

Al­though for­mer en­ergy min­is­ter Charles Hendry was en­thu­si­as­tic about the role ti­dal la­goons could play in Bri­tain’s en­ergy fu­ture, he rec­om­mended a pause af­ter the Swansea Bay one is built to al­low time to as­sess its im­pact.

He also said that it should be up to the Govern­ment to de­cide where la­goons should be built in the fu­ture, and that com­pa­nies should have to bid to build large-scale la­goons such as the Cardiff one.

Ti­dal La­goon Power, the com­pany that wants to build a la­goon at Cardiff, said it was not wor­ried about what Mr Hendry had said.

It has al­ready been work­ing on its plans for the Cardiff la­goon for more than three years, and a spokesman said it still in­tends to sub­mit its plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion in late 2018 or 2019.

Al­though it might take sev­eral years be­fore the Cardiff site is thrown open to com­pe­ti­tion, Ti­dal La­goon Power is con­fi­dent it will be more ad­vanced in its plans than any com­peti­tor, and will have the ben­e­fit of its ex­pe­ri­ence with the Swansea Bay la­goon.

The pos­si­bil­ity of a de­lay be­fore Cardiff la­goon is built has been wel­comed by en­vi­ron­men­tal groups such as the Wildlife Trusts Wales and RSPB Cymru, who are con­cerned about the im­pact of the la­goon on fish and wildlife num­bers.

The Hendry re­view recog­nised the pos­si­ble im­pact of the Cardiff la­goon on wildlife habi­tats in the Sev­ern, say­ing it would be nec­es­sary for the de­vel­oper to “make good the loss of ex­ist­ing habi­tat for wildlife” by con­struct­ing “a very sig­nif­i­cant amount” of com­pen­satory habi­tat.

When the Cardiff Bay bar­rage was built, the de­vel­oper Cardiff Bay Devel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion had to build com­pen­satory habi­tat at New­port Wet­lands.

If built, the Cardiff ti­dal la­goon would be sev­eral times larger than the Swansea Bay one.

It would have a gen­er­at­ing ca­pac­ity of three gi­gawatts, roughly the same as the new nu­clear power station at Hink­ley Point C and enough to power ev­ery home in Wales.

It would cost about £8bn to build and would re­quire a sub­sidy which would be paid for from elec­tric­ity bills. But ac­cord­ing to the Hendry re­view that sub­sidy would add less than 50p a year to house­hold bills over 60 years.

More than 3,000 con­struc­tion work­ers would be needed to build the la­goon, and Ti­dal La­goon Power claims it could add £2bn to the Welsh econ­omy dur­ing con­struc­tion.

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