Welsh councils team up to bring £7bn tidal lagoon project back to life
Richard Evans, local democracy reporter
Two Welsh councils are teaming up to breathe new life into a £7 billion tidal lagoon project.
The green energy project looked dead in the water, but has now taken a step closer thanks to millions of pounds of investment, and renewed commitment from Denbighshire County Council and Conwy County Council,
The proposed tidal lagoon was backed by Denbighshire County Council last month after a motion was put forward by councillors.
The motion followed a prompt by Welsh Government, encouraging local authorities to work with the private sector on sustainable energy.
The scheme could involve a 19-mile barrage with underwater turbines able to change the tide, creating around 5,000 construction jobs across Conwy and Denbighshire.
Both Conwy and Denbighshire county councils are now looking at ways in which such a scheme could be financed, together with private companies.
On Monday, Conwy’s finance and overview scrutiny committee met to discuss a quarterly update on the North Wales Growth Deal.
During the meeting, Cllr Nigel Smith asked if the deal could help facilitate the multi-billion-pound tidal lagoon.
“There’s been a lot in the local press about Denbighshire supporting, finally, the tidal lagoon project,” he said.
“Will that (the growth deal) give that project any further traction?”
Conwy’s strategic director Jane Richardson said she thought it would. She added: “I think what we want is for government and the sector to see we are really hungry for a tidal lagoon in North Wales, and the more formal endorsements we can give, from ourselves and from Denbighshire, the better, and I’ve seen a real shift from when I first came.
“A tidal lagoon felt like a pipe dream, and nobody would take it seriously, and now it is officially listed in the regional economic framework as one of the biggest and most important opportunities in North Wales.
“So I think the more commitment we can show in North Wales the better. So I was really pleased to see what Denbighshire had said. It is all taking us in the right direction.”
Cllr Greg Robbins then said a Conwy pressure group had been meeting regularly and revealed a letter was soon to go out to the minister for climate change, to see if a feasibility study could be undertaken.
Led by North Wales Economic Ambition Board – a collaboration of North Wales’ six councils, two universities, two colleges and private sector representatives – the growth deal is made up of 14 projects covering low carbon energy, innovation in high-value manufacturing, agri-food and tourism, digital connectivity and land and property.
Both the UK and Welsh Government have pledged £240m – £120m each – to help bring the deal to fruition.
The committee was updated on the progress of the North Wales Growth Deal, which included the approval of the first full business case and £3m invested in Bangor University’s Digital Signal Processing Centre and the creation of 40 new jobs.
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