New nuclear power station on Anglesey 'right up there' on UK Government's agenda, says Simon Hart

The Welsh Secretary has been discussing the Wylfa Newydd project on Anglesey. Credit: PA Images

A new nuclear power station on Anglesey is “right up there” on the UK Government’s agenda, the Welsh Secretary Simon Hart has said.

The Wylfa Newydd project collapsed in 2020 when the developer Hitachi pulled out, but Mr Hart said that hasn’t spelled the end of the plan. 

“This is early days, but I think the signs are quite good. I think it's very much back on the table and … in the nuclear industry, Wylfa is still seen as a world leading site. 

“So leaving aside all of the current issues around Ukraine, Wylfa was always a good site and it always would be a good site."

The Welsh Secretary says it's not the end of the road for Wylfa.

At his regular briefing of journalists, the cabinet minister also defended Boris Johnson’s meeting with the rulers of Saudi Arabia to discuss energy supply. 

He said: “Notwithstanding the differences, we've always had a relationship with Saudi Arabia. So… having that relationship and having a constant dialogue is nothing new. 

“There's always been shared intelligence and other shared activity and that has happened with not only Saudi Arabia but with other countries across the world with whose regimes we often have fundamental disagreements with as well. 

“I think the energy resilience question is, as far as Saudi Arabia is concerned, is part of a wide look at all of the opportunities that are open to us short term and long term and as you know, the long term opportunity to energy independence remains an absolute energy self sufficiency.”

The Prime Minister met with the rulers of Saudi Arabia to discuss energy supply. Credit: PA Images

Mr Hart also answered questions about a call from the Welsh and Scottish Governments to be allowed to oversee the resettlement of refugees in those countries as part of the UK Homes for Ukraine programme. 

He said that everyone who offers help to Ukraine or Ukrainian refugees is a "super-sponsor" and that any schemes to help should cut red tape not add to it.

He told reporters that anyone who donates £5, offers a spare bedroom or takes aid to nearby countries, along with local authorities, devolved administrations and the UK Government is a "super-sponsor," adding that it is “not a competition” between individuals and organisations. 

But he said that the UK Government was willing to work with the Welsh and Scottish Government on their proposals as long as they did not create "an additional layer of bureaucracy."

Mark Drakeford wrote to Michael Gove at the weekend. Credit: PA Images

Yesterday the First Minister told Senedd Members that he had had an "encouraging" response from the UK Government minister responsible for the Homes for Ukraine programme, Michael Gove.

At the weekend, Mark Drakeford and Nicola Sturgeon wrote to Mr Gove, when he announced the scheme, which will allow individuals charities, community groups, and businesses to bring people fleeing the war in Ukraine to safety here in the UK even if they have no family or other ties here.

It was seen as being the UK Government's answer to sustained criticism of its handling of the refugee crisis following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The Welsh and Scottish First Ministers said the answer to concerns that the programme will leave too much up to individuals lay in allowing their governments to become "super sponsors."

They argued that would enable them to ensure the right services are available to all those taking part, both hosts and refugees. 

Simon Hart was answering questions about a call from the Welsh and Scottish Governments.

Mr Hart said: "I do think, by the way … that everybody's a "super sponsor," everybody who's helping this cause, whether they're giving a fiver to a charity, whether they're opening up their bedroom, or whether they are driving equipment to Poland or whether they are a local authority or a devolved administration offering help. 

"I don't think there's any distinction in my mind between any of those actors, including UK government, by the way … this is not a competition between administrations or between individuals as to who could be seen to do the most.

"If there’s any one thing which matters here it is that we provide safe haven for as many people as we can and who need it as soon as we can and in our endeavours to achieve that it is really important that this system is safe and secure, but also … free of bureaucracies.”

He said he hadn’t seen the proposals from the Welsh Government but added that “I know they like us will want it to be relatively simple. 

"The last thing anybody wants or for it to result in additional cost or some kind of impediment like that… the only effect [of which] really would be to make the plight of the people that we're trying to help more difficult to identify and I don’t think anybody’s minded to get engaged in anything which achieves that."