Coalition parties race to claim credit for lagoon news

Ed Davey
Image caption Credit due? Ed Davey says the UK government is 'serious' about tidal power

One of the joys of coalition government as we approach the general election is seeing each party try to claim the credit for ideas that have yet to be delivered.

Yesterday, David Cameron and Nick Clegg each visited Stonehenge separately to highlight their role in promising to finance the long-mooted plan for a tunnel near the prehistoric monument.

Today, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats are fighting to claim the credit for another engineering project that has yet to be built.

The Swansea Bay tidal lagoon makes an appearance in the coalition's "National Infrastructure Plan" with the government stating its belief that "there may be significant tidal lagoon potential in the UK which is why DECC has started to explore the potential for a future lagoon programme".

It adds: "The government will start closer discussions with Tidal Lagoon Power Ltd to establish whether a potential tidal lagoon project at Swansea Bay is affordable and value for money for consumers (without prejudice to the planning decision on the project); if the project were to progress it could become the first tidal lagoon project in the world."

It may look like a commitment to further talks rather than action. In this age of austerity, there is no financial commitment.

But according to Liberal Democrat AM Peter Black: "This announcement is great news and shows the effect of having a Liberal Democrat energy minister [Ed Davey]."

That caused spluttering in the Wales Office, where the lagoon was the centrepiece of its Autumn Statement submission to the Treasury.

Conservative Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb said: "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."

Stand by for a few (separate) pre-election visits from coalition politicians to Swansea Bay. Hi-vis jackets and hard hats optional.

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