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Support uncertain for tidal lagoon

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An artist’s impression: Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon

SUPPORT from the UK Government for the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon appears to be ebbing, following concerns from senior Conservatives about costs. 

Prime Minister David Cameron admitted that his enthusiasm for the project was ‘cooling’ and Secretary of State for Wales Stephen Crabb said that a ‘considered decision’ was needed.

“What we want to do is take a considered decision about whether it is in the best long-term interest in terms of energy, in terms of jobs and the economy,” he added, while claiming he was still a ‘fan’ of the development.

This contrasts somewhat with a government press release from December 2014, when Mr Crabb said: “This is great news for Wales and has the potential to provide a massive boost to the Welsh economy – creating thousands of jobs, attracting millions of pounds worth of investment and helping to secure Wales’ energy future.

“Wales is already home to some of the most cutting edge companies in the world and the country is uniquely placed to pioneer tidal power.

“I am a strong supporter of this project and I have long been making the case to my Cabinet colleagues that Welsh innovation should be supporting the next generation of low-carbon technology.”

The concerns appear to stem from the subsidies requested by Tidal Lagoon Power, the company behind the scheme. The proposed subsidy is £168 per Megawatt hour, which compares unfavourably with nuclear energy at the proposed Hinkley C plant, which will be around £90 pMh.

However, a spokesperson for Tidal Lagoon Power said that they were confident that they would reach a ‘viable’ price through negotiation.

Tidal Lagoon Power, has come up against a number of obstacles since the project was green-lighted by the UK Government last year. It was hoped that Natural Resources Wales would have granted a licence for the project by July – something that has still not occurred. It was originally hoped that construction would begin in March 2016, a target that the firm has accepted will not be met.

In addition, at the end of last year, a Judge ruled that Cornwall Council had ‘acted unlawfully’ in granting permission for stone to be quarried at Dean Quarry on the Lizard and transported to Swansea bay by barge without seeking an Environmental Impact Assessment.

Question were also raised about whether assessments of the power generated were accurate, and suggested more tests were needed to ensure the turbines were sited for optimum efficiency. However, Tidal responded by saying that they were using ‘proven technology’.

“The project has been awarded a Development Consent Order and its design has been validated through independent technical adjudication on behalf of government and on behalf of the investors who are backing it,” a spokesperson for the company added.

Following a recent presentation at a Carmarthenshire County Council meeting, Tidal Energy Ltd spokesperson Ioan Jenkins admitted that there was no date to end negotiations with the UK Government, but claimed that the company was in daily contact with the Treasury, and hoped to get the ‘green light’ by the end of March and begin construction in the summer.

Mr Jenkins claimed that, while the cost will be almost twice that of nuclear power, it would come down for later developments.

“The concentration with the press is around Swansea Bay – we are concentrating on the fleet of lagoons thereafter,” he explained.

“This is in some ways too small, every one after will be cheaper than nuclear,” he added, quoting prices of between £80-85 pMh.

Mr Jenkins failed to explain how building a demonstration which was not especially cost-effective would convince the UK Government that future projects would be cheaper.

The project is strongly backed by businesses, elected representatives, and a large number of residents across south and west Wales. In the build up to the 2015 General Election, candidates from across the political spectrum suggested that south west Wales, and especially Pembrokeshire, would be in a prime position to regenerate local economies on the back of the ‘green energy boom’ which appeared imminent.

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How Wales created 19 new field hospitals in less than 8 weeks…

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Across Wales the Welsh Government is supporting the NHS to create new field hospitals and rapidly increase bed capacity.
Health boards have repurposed existing buildings, including the Principality Stadium, a holiday park and even a television studio to provide an additional 6,000 beds.Field hospitals are designed to support the NHS during the coronavirus pandemic by providing extra bed capacity but they will also help normal hospital services be restarted and support social care services.Last month, the first patients were admitted to Ysbyty Calon y Ddraig at the Principality Stadium, in Cardiff.

Four to six weeks

Here is how Wales almost doubled its bed capacity in less than eight weeks…The time it has taken to nearly double hospital bed capacity in Wales, creating field hospitals across the nation.

19 field hospitals in Wales
This includes the repurposing of Bluestone Holiday Park and Parc y Scarlets in west Wales and Venue Cymru in north Wales.

1,500 beds at the Ysbyty Calon y Ddraig
Making it one of the largest field hospitals in the UK.

Five days
The length of time it took to plan Ysbyty Calon y Ddraig, which overlapped with the build phase.

3,000
The number of planning hours, involving more than 20 different disciplines, it took to plan Ysbyty Calon y Ddraig.

£166m
Welsh Government funding for the set up, construction and equipment for field hospitals in Wales.

138,000
The number of pieces of equipment have been provided to help support field hospitals, including beds, imaging equipment, syringe drivers and medicines.

Three North Wales field hospitals have the name Enfys
Meaning rainbow – the symbol of hope and thank you to the NHS during the pandemic.
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7-year-old Mattie from Pembrey takes on home Pen y Fan-tastic challenge for Action for Children

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Plucky Mattie Denman will climb the equivalent of Pen y Fan in the drive at her family home in Pembrey on Friday 22nd May to raise funds for Action for Children.

Mattie (7), has always wanted to climb the highest mountain in South Wales and is unable to currently because of the coronavirus pandemic.  As the family exercise at home every day, she decided she wanted to do the 6-mile equivalent journey there while she waits for the chance to do it for real.  Mattie chose Action for Children as her mother, Sian, works for the charity in Carmarthenshire.

Mattie said: ‘My Mammy works for Action for Children and I want to help as well because lots of families need help.  My older brother and sister help Action for Children, so I asked Mammy if I could do something. We exercise everyday walking up and down the drive and I have always wanted to climb Pen y Fan, but we have never done it.

‘Mammy said I could pretend I am walking it and people will give money to the charity. I said brilliant, that is what I am going to do and I am super excited to do it. I will use mammy’s step counter and I hope I can help children that need support especially because it is so hard for some families because of coronavirus.’

Proud mum and family support practitioner for Action for Children, Sian, added: ‘Mattie has a lovely heart and really wanted to do something and I’m very proud she chose Pen y Fan as her home challenge.  Action for Children has been going the extra mile during the coronavirus pandemic continuing to support vulnerable families through phone and video sessions as well as food and help with the basics from our Emergency Appeal Fund. 

‘It is a tremendously challenging time for our families and every bit of money will directly help those in our communities who need it most.  I hope as many people as possible will donate to Mattie’s brilliant fundraising effort, it’ll make it even more special when we finally get to climb Pen y Fan for real.’

If you want to support Mattie’s Pen y Fan challenge please go to: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/mattiesclimb

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Housebuilder launches Coronavirus move in package

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A South Wales housebuilder has launched new incentives which mean homes are ‘ready to move into’ during the Covid-19 crisis – without the need for tradespeople or delivery people.

People in Wales are allowed to move into new build houses during the lockdown – and many people have successfully done so.

However, the limitations of social distancing can add extra stress when it comes to having things like dishwashers, washing machines and turf installed in the new property.

That’s why Persimmon Homes West Wales has launched a new incentive package which gives purchasers the chance to buy a house with white goods and flooring already in place.

Sharon Bouhali, sales director at Persimmon Homes West Wales, said: “Our sales advisors have done a terrific job in talking with customers and guiding them through the buying process remotely, without the need of face-to-face meetings.

“It’s been a huge challenge, but we’ve risen to it – and Persimmon has sold more than 120 properties in South Wales during the lockdown period. We have customers moving into their new homes every week.

“But, understandably, some people are cautious about having too many tradespeople and contractors enter their home, even if they are doing their utmost to abide by social distancing rules.

“That’s why we have launched these new packages which mean people can turn the key, unpack and get on with enjoying their new home.”

The package includes carpets and vinyl throughout, turf in the back garden, sliding wardrobes, integrated fridge freezer, integrated washer/dryer, integrated dishwasher and £500 discount towards removal fees.

The deal is on offer at Glas Y Felin in Bridgend, Parc Yr Onnen in Carmarthen, The Bridles in Llanelli, Peterson Park in Pontyclun, Parc Brynderi in Llanelli and Allt Y Celyn in Rhos.

Persimmon’s marketing suites in Wales remain closed for the time being. Visit www.persimmonhomes.com or call 01792 229800 for details of homes available.

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