Cardiff City Council to discuss tidal lagoon

Cardiff City Council will discuss the creation of a £6-8 billion tidal lagoon in Cardiff Bay next week.

A report to Cabinet will recommend that a scrutiny task and finish group should gather independent, expert advice on the opportunities and issues that a lagoon could bring to the area.

The report comes as an independent review set up by the government assesses the feasibility of tidal lagoon power in the UK. The review is led by Charles Hendry and is expected to be completed this Autumn.

The Council will also consider that in the event the project is progressed following the Hendry Review, officers are authorised to undertake a detailed appraisal of the potential economic, social and environmental implications of the project for Cardiff.

Cardiff City Council leader Phil Bale said: ““A tidal lagoon for Cardiff Bay would see the construction of a seawall, some 22km in length, enclosing an area of some 70 square kilometres. It would hold 11 times the volume of water that the proposed Swansea Lagoon would contain.

“Clearly the Hendry Review will give an independent opinion, but this is likely to be a high-level analysis of the lagoon concept rather than a detailed critique of the Cardiff project.

“It’s important the City Council does what it can to ensure the potential issues and opportunities are fully understood. We have time now to gather up independent evidence so we can have an informed view on Tidal Lagoons and the effect one this size could have on Cardiff and the surrounding area.”

Tidal Lagoon Power is also developing a lagoon in Swansea Bay but the project is on hold awaiting the findings from the Hendry Review. The 320MW project would be the first of its kind but the former prime minister, David Cameron, expressed concerns over its cost, saying: “The problem with tidal power, is that at the moment we have not seen any ideas come forward that can hit a strike price in terms of pounds per megawatt-hour that is very attractive.”

Bale added: “The final decision on whether a lagoon gets the go ahead will rest with the UK government’s Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change and the UK’s Planning Inspectorate.

“A project of this scale could offer many opportunities, creating thousands of jobs, delivering low carbon energy, and enhancing regeneration options. There’s no doubt it could be an incredibly exciting project for Cardiff and Wales. But, it may also raise potential environmental issues which will need to be carefully assessed. It’s crucial we ensure we have independent, expert advice.”

The report also recommends that officers would be authorised to engage with the developers, Tidal Lagoon Power Plc, to understand more fully the public benefit which would be offered to offset any potential risks.