Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay: the lustre of pearls?

The video presentation released by Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay certainly looks impressive, but will the scheme have a ‘lustre of pearl’ effect on the bay?

The presentation describes plans to construct a 10.5 km causeway, using innovative techniques, to create a 11 sq km lagoon in a £650m development. But will it live up to its promises?

A lagoon for energy?

Fitted with turbines capable of generating enough electricity to power over 100,000 homes, the causeway certainly ticks the environment-friendly boxes, helping to create a carbon-neutral Wales. But what will the impact be on the local ecology? On its website the company appear to be quite honest in accepting that the development will have some impact on the local environment, and have confirmed that they will be producing an Environmental Impact Assessment report.

A lagoon of opportunity?

The developer states that the lagoon will provide an environment for reviving old marine-based industries such as oyster beds, kelp farming; and watersports like sailing and triathlon. These are to be welcomed and can only further enhance the bay’s status as a premier location for seafood and watersports.

A lagoon for jobs?

It is fair to say that the tidal lagoon will create some much needed jobs for the area and give our local economy a boost. But I assume that a development as cutting edge as this will require some highly-skilled expertise. I wonder how many of these jobs will come to Swansea Bay? I believe that the lagoon offers the Swansea Bay region an exciting opportunity to create a research centre, possibly at the new university campus on Fabian Way, to lead the way in the development of tidal power technologies for export.

A lagoon for art?

Some may find the suggested dragon sculpture a little cliche. However, the developers should surely be applauded for their efforts to include public artworks in the scheme. Cape Farewell, an arts group committed to engaging the public around the issue of climate change through the arts, have been commissioned to develop a creative inquiry into the scheme and how it will impact change on the area. Perhaps, artworks that stimulate debate around climate change and the marine environment specifically would be more appropriate and beneficial, and better reflect the innovation of the scheme?

What do you think?

Detailed plans are still being prepared ahead of an expected public consultation during the summer and submission to the UK Secretary of State for Climate Change and Energy in the autumn.

Meanwhile, here’s the report of the children of nearby St Thomas Primary:

And here’s what the children of Grange Primary had to say in a classroom debate:

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Virgin, right on the money?

The first airline to offer individual TVs to passengers. Tilting Pendolino trains to improve speed and safety. Commercial space travel. Virgin has a rich history of entering new markets and shaking things up a little, now it’s got banking in its sights.

Virgin, sometimes viewed as the consumer’s champion, has a track record of waking up the competition. Its strong company ethos on delivering quality and value for money for its customers challenges rivals to raise their game.

Never one to stay still, Virgin is entering the world of retail banking. Through its purchase of Northern Rock the company is expanding its Virgin Money brand, giving it a presence in the high street, especially in the north east.

As can be seen by the TV commercial, the launch of Virgin Money aims to draw on this heritage and promises to change the shape of banking for better.


But will Virgin succeed?

They propose to charge customers £60 a year for current accounts, a move going down like a lead balloon among a public with an already cynical view of the banking sector.

Nevertheless, if the new Virgin Money stores are anything to go by, banks could very well become more comfortable, relaxing and welcoming places, with people to greet you rather than the host of self-service machines and telephones you find in a branch of HSBC.

However, Virgin will need to challenge the established banks – becoming the most transparent bank, explaining clearly the rationale for its charges, being exciting and innovative, and aligning itself with the concerns of consumers.

Right on the money? You can bet Virgin will make banking better.