Minister slams UK Government as electric supply is secured at Baglan Energy Park
Economy Minister Vaughan Gething has criticised the UK Government for failing to take action to resolve problems at an energy park in Neath Port Talbot and said its opposition to legal action taken by the Welsh Government was “staggering”.
Tenants of Baglan Energy Park previously received their electricity supply via a private wire network from an on-site gas-fired power station but in March 2021 the company that owned the network was placed into compulsory liquidation.
This resulted in the company’s operations, including the private wire network, becoming the responsibility of the UK Government’s Insolvency Service, who were tasked with winding down operations.
The Welsh Government subsequently launched legal action to prevent the UK Government’s Official Receiver from switching off the power supply and invested over £4m to build new electricity networks.
It’s estimated that up to 1,200 jobs would have been in jeopardy because of the loss of power.
On a visit to the site, Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething said: “I am pleased to have had the opportunity to visit Baglan Energy Park to meet some of the businesses impacted by more than a year of uncertainty around their energy supply. There is no doubt this has been a very stressful and uncertain time for them.
“When the UK Government refused to act, the Welsh Government intervened. If we had not acted then, serious long term harm could have been caused.
“The action we have taken came at significant cost to the Welsh Government. However, I am confident that it was time and money well spent. We have been able to successfully avoid the risk of major job losses, flood incidents and potential environmental pollution.
“This has been an incredibly frustrating time. It is staggering that the UK Government actively opposed our action in the courts to protect jobs, the environment, and the health of tens of thousands of people.
“In taking this action, the Welsh Government stood up for the people of Wales. This is yet another great example of devolution in action.”
The Welsh Government invested over £4m to support Western Power Distribution rapidly design and build replacement networks at the site, which could have taken over two years with the extra support.
The new electricity connections – which are directly powered through the National Grid – are now complete, with most customers connected to the new network.
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This abject negation of responsibility by UK government is staggering and further demonstrates that this Tory administration just does not care about Wales. It is also hellbent on denying the democratic right of Welsh people where ever it can.
There has been a reduction in the funding Wales receives despite the promise to maintain it following Brexit, which they have failed to do and have obviously never intended to.
The Welsh Conservative Party should hang its head in shame for supporting and backing a government that is deliberately and knowingly depriving the people of Wales.
How much more proof does it take for Welsh Labour to realise we do not need the divisive UK government to run our affairs. Wales should quit the isolationist UK and become a independent nation and manage our own affairs. The European Union has always been a better partner for Wales (as it has for Scotland and Ireland) and yet that UK you still want to be associated with decided to leave the EU and isolate itself and therefore initiate which is becoming a closing down sale. As an independent Wales we can join the UN, EFTA and the European… Read more »
Another example of “private enterprise good, public service bad”? Building an industrial estate powered by a private energy supplier was always risky. Nationalisation is the only and obvious answer.