A Welsh MP has called on the UK Government to “show some leadership” by giving a full commitment to using British steel for the Swansea Tidal Lagoon project.
Following the announcement that Tata Steel will cut over 1,000 jobs in the face of a growing industry crisis, Labour’s Aberavon MP Stephen Kinnock said the Government should “get on and approve” the £1bn investment project, and ensure that steel for the scheme is sourced from the Port Talbot firm.
The Aberavon MP said hundreds of jobs depended on Government backing for the green energy project – and could throw Tata Steel a vital lifeline.
The flagship project would see Swansea welcome the world’s first man-made, green energy generating lagoon, and it would require a substantial steel tenure agreement for the scheme’s turbines.
But there is no current guarantee that Tata Steel would land the contract, meaning the Port Talbot firm could lose out to foreign competitors.
Mr Kinnock added: “The economic boost that the tidal lagoon will bring to the region is particularly needed now with this week’s news of 750 job losses at Tata Steel in Port Talbot.
“The Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon, part of which will be in my Aberavon Constituency, has the potential to bring enormous benefits to the Swansea Bay area.
“It will create hundreds of much needed jobs locally through its construction and operation, and can also provide critical support to our beleaguered steel industry because of the massive steel turbines, each with a diameter of 7.35m, which will be at the heart of the project.”
The Tidal Lagoon has been labelled a “game changer” by local business leaders, and is expected to create over 2,000 jobs, should it get Government backing.
But the commercial viability for the project rests entirely on a subsidy deal between the Government and developer Tidal Lagoon Power.
In recent months David Cameron’s enthusiasm for the project has wavered due to the cost of the high electric strike price.
“The Government has dodged and delayed the decision. Every missed deadline sets the project back,” Mr Kinnock said
“The Government’s continued prevarication over agreeing a strike price with Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon is costing the lagoon project months, even years of delays, and is costing the Swansea Bay region vital jobs.
“With the ambitious new targets agreed at the Paris climate change talks recently, which the Prime Minister took such pride in, it is particularly crucial that his Government now commits to lagoon power.
“They were warned time and again of the consequences of their failure to act to support British steelmaking by taking measures against the dumping of cheap Chinese steel and by failing to address the industry’s crippling energy costs.
“They must now act to protect the future of Swansea Bay.”