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Regional daily urges Cameron green energy action with Number 10 petition

A petition urging David Cameron to make a decision on a £1bn green energy project has been delivered to Downing Street by a regional daily editor.

Jonathan Roberts, of the South Wales Evening Post, presented the petition to Number 10 calling on the Prime Minister not to abandon the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon project.

The lagoon could generate the equivalent electricity used by 155,000 households for 120 years via 16 turbines, but the Evening Post launched a campaign to save the project after the company behind it announced in November it had cut nearly a fifth of its workforce.

The government has now begun an independent review into tidal lagoon energy, which is not expected to be completed before the autumn.

South Wales Evening Post editor Jonathan Roberts outside 10 Downing Street

South Wales Evening Post editor Jonathan Roberts outside 10 Downing Street

In a piece about his Westminster visit for the newspaper, Jonathan wrote: “A six-hour round trip to deliver a box of papers would ordinarily be considered a little indulgent in the hectic schedule of a daily newspaper editor.

“While any number of courier services could have completed such a task far more efficiently, not least in avoiding a host of very basic errors on the London Underground, some jobs require a personal touch.

“And after thousands of our readers took the time to pledge their support for our campaign to ensure Swansea Bay gets the tidal energy project it was promised, a six-hour trip to the capital and back is a more than reasonable sacrifice to ensure our voice is taken to David Cameron’s front door.

“The noise from South Wales has been one of unequivocal support for the £1bn project, ever since Energy Secretary Amber Rudd approved the scheme last summer.

“The glacial pace that has followed within the corridors of power in concluding the necessary financial commitments has been deeply concerning.”

When the Evening Post launched the campaign, the Department for Energy and Climate Change had not agreed a “contract for difference” with Tidal Lagoon Power for 35 years’ worth of subsidies, funded by consumers.

Some argue that the subsidies requested are too high, but without an agreement in place no building of the lagoon can start.

Jonathan added: “With little sign of a clear timeframe within which South Wales will get the answers it deserves, we decided the time was right to make our position clear.

“Will it make any impact on the decision makers at Westminster? I’m afraid we won’t be able to predict that with anywhere near the certainty we can the tide rolling into the bay this evening.

“We deserve better, we deserve a decision.”