Written Evidence from David Evans
ENQUIRY IN WALES
1. Congratulation on your appointment as
Chairman of the Welsh Affairs Committee.
2. I have, over the last two years, been
following the proposal for a tidal lagoon to generate electricity,
in Swansea Bay. I have no commercial or financial relationship
with either Tidal Electric Ltd. or the Environmental Trust. That
could change some time in the future.
3. I did ask the Environmental Trust, some
months ago, to see if they could arrange a briefing for Welsh
MPs, on the project. I understand that you did in fact receive
such a briefing.
4. More recently Lord and Lady Anderson
have asked me to keep them informed and Alan Williams MP has been
very helpful. He has in particular obtained information from the
National Audit Office, copies of which I have enclosed.
5. A full written submission is currently
being prepared for your Committee. If will, in large part, be
based on the study carried out by Consultants W.S. Atkins, the
largest multi disciplined Consultancy in Europe. They were supported
by a number of other major Consultants, a list is enclosed.
6. I shall not argue the case here, however
I would say that the conclusions of the study were that the lagoon
system was technically feasible and economically viable. No major
obstacles to bulding the lagoon were foreseen and there would
appear to be no significant environmental impact. Prior to building,
a full and detailed environmental impact study would be undertaken.
7. However, I have become deeply concerned
about the say that the DTI and WDA seem to have handled the matter.
They have been extremely hostile to the concept. Their arguments
have been based on work that they have claimed to have done, using
their own specialist Consultants, who have advised them that tidal
lagoons are not viable. They have claimed that the work was carried
out in 2002. This cannot be, given that, the Atkins report, the
only detailed and definitive work, was not submitted until September
8. Up until May 2005, the DTI and WDA had
refused to reveal the identity of their Consultants. They did
however appear at a meeting at the DTI in May of this year. The
Consultant representing the WDA is a sole proprietor from North
Wales whose speciality is waste water treatment. The DTI used
a retired genetleman, who worked on the Severn Barrage project
some years ago. Whilst I feel sure that both of these Consultants
have great strengths, neither, however, seem to have an technical,
commercial or information technology back up. Against this, the
team behind the Atkins report have a combined turnover in excess
of £3 billion and over 60,000 employees, covering every discipline
required, in great depth.
9. The two letter from the NAO would seem
to suggest that the claimed work have nover in fact been done.
Indeed the DTI clearly states in the second letter that they are
NOW commissioning a piece of work to assess all the available
information. Indeed it was only after Alan Williams asked the
NAO for clarification, given the content of their first letter,
did the DTI change its position.
10. I also enclose an extract from NATT's
journal, July-August 2004 issue. Again there is a statement by
Andrew Davies AM referring to an in depth appraisal being conducted
by the WDA. This was made nearly two months before the Atkins
study was submitted! I have already mentioned the Consultant that
the WDA used to carry out their assessment. As the meeting in
May 2005, he was clearly well out of his depth, he was unable
to defend his position against the Atkins team. Neither Consultant
produced any actual evidence to support their opinions.
11. I find the whole picture very disturbing,
particulary given the importance of tidal enery to Wales. We have
the second largest tidal range in the World, a source of continuous,
predictable and indestructible energy.
12. It is evident that the tidal lagoon
proposal for Swansea Bay has not been given a fair hearing to
date. Statements made seem to have been made on guess or whim
and not on proper analysis.
13. May I wish you and your Committee good
fortune in your deliberations, particulary as the timescales placed
upon you seem unusually tight.
1 November 2005