MPs reject Severn Barrage plan

MPs on the Energy and Climate Change Committee have criticised a £30bn plan to build a barrage across the Severn Estuary. They say developers have 'failed to address commercial and environmental concerns', and the scheme's viability is 'unproven.'

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Developers: MPs' report 'unhelpful and frustrating'

Hafren Power, the developers behind the Severn Barrage plan, says today's critical report from the Energy and Climate Change Committee is "unhelpful and frustrating" - but says it will press on with the project.

The report is unhelpful and frustrating – we all know we have a lot more work to do and we will do it.

The Government has already told us it is not against the barrage and we are determined to press ministers and officials to engage fully. We believe the environmental and economic issues can be solved with everyone working together.

Unlike smaller schemes, only a barrage can harness the full power potential of the estuary and do it economically. It will also be much cheaper and last much longer than offshore wind farms which have high levels of public subsidy.

Britain needs more infrastructure projects, especially power generation. Our proposal delivers in spades – up to £25 billion in private investment, 20,000 construction jobs and a further 30,000 jobs supported, and the cheapest zero carbon electricity over its lifetime.

– Tony Pryor, Chief Executive, Hafren Power


Details of Severn Barrage plan

The plan for a Severn Barrage has been heavily criticised by MPs. Credit: Hafren Power

The plan is for an 18km (11-mile) barrage between Lavernock Point, near Penarth in the Vale of Glamorgan, and Brean, near Weston-super-Mare.

The developer, Hafren Power, says it plans to "harness one of the world's largest potential sources of renewable energy: the huge tidal range of the Severn estuary" - in "one of the largest privately funded engineering projects in the world."

It says the barrage will produce 16.5 terawatt hours per year (around five percent of the UK's electricity demand) for over 120 years.

It would be one of the biggest power stations in Europe, equivalent to 3,000 wind turbines or three to four nuclear reactors.

Hafren Power says the barrage would be clean, secure and sustainable.


Severn Estuary barrage could still be built if right proposals are submitted

Artists impression of the Corlan Hafren proposal for the Severn Barrage Credit: Corlan Hafren

The UK Energy Secretary Ed Davey says a 30 billion pound barrage across the Severn estuary could still be built if the right proposals were submitted.

The barrage would stretch from the Vale of Glamorgan to Somerset. Supporters believe it could provide 5% of UK electricity - but some MPs and environmental groups have opposed the plans.

Environmental groups raise fears over Severn Barrage plans

Plans to build a barrage across the Severn Estuary could be back on the agenda after the UK Government confirmed it was open to working with affordable and environmentally friendly projects.

Harnessing the tidal power could provide 5% of the UK's energy needs.

Environmentalists have urged caution , amid fears over the scheme's potential to damage the natural habitat for wildlife in the area.

"We accept that the power of the Severn could well be used, but we'd like to see it done in a way that will minimise the impact on wildlife " says Katie-Jo Luxton, from RSPB Cymru.

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