Bye-bye to the Severn Barrage

Regen SW wants a balanced technology approach to renewable energy in the Bristol Channel Regen SW wants a balanced technology approach to renewable energy in the Bristol Channel
Industry Database

The Severn Barrage proposal has been dismissed – UK ministers say that there is not enough evidence to justify the viability of the project.

In a report this week, the UK House of Commons’ Energy and Climate Change Committee said that the £25bn plan for the barrage submitted by Hafren Power “has yet to provide robust and independently verified evidence of the economic, environmental and technological viability of the project.”

The Hafren Power proposal argued that the 11 mile barrage, which would have stretched between Lavernock Point in Penarth and Brean near Weston-super-Mare in Somerset, could generate 5% of the UK’s electricity requirement.

But the proposal has been fraught with opposition from the start from sustainable energy experts and environmental groups.

Opponents argue that such a barrier would have a massive impact on both the ecology of the channel and upstream ports. They would rather see the Bristol Channel used as a 'holistic energy system' and a strategy adopted that incorporates multiple technologies such as tidal, wind and wave power.

Johnny Gowdy, director at Regen SW, welcomed the news that an adequate case has not been made for the barrier, but expressed disappointment that it has not taken the opportunity to provide more “proactive” leadership to develop an alternative strategy for the Channel.

“Reliance wholly on the market and the assumption that existing 'energy policies taken together will create an environment allowing winners to emerge naturally' seems to miss the crucial point that large and complex projects using new technologies can only succeed with positive government support and local engagement at all levels”, he said.

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