MPs ‘not convinced’ by £25bn Severn Barrage plans

MPs today said they are “not convinced” of the economic case for a huge tidal scheme which would span the Severn estuary. A report by the MPs on Parliament’s energy […]

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By Vicky Ellis

MPs today said they are “not convinced” of the economic case for a huge tidal scheme which would span the Severn estuary.

A report by the MPs on Parliament’s energy watchdog found the scheme has failed to show a strong case both economically, environmentally and in terms of public acceptability.

The report is likely to be a blow to tidal energy firm Hafren Power which hopes to build the huge £25billion barrage. Last month it was reported five major firms including engineering giant Arup have signed up to work on the project.

Tim Yeo MP, Chairman of the Energy and Climate Change Committee said: “It became clear during the course of this inquiry that more detailed, robust evidence about Hafren Power’s proposal and claims is needed. Our inquiry has brought more information into the public domain and furthered the debate, but we cannot recommend the Hafren Power scheme as currently presented to us.”

The report suggests politicians are increasingly cautious of endorsing a power supply which is reliant on public funding, especially given the Government’s current negotiations over the ‘strike price’ for nuclear power with EDF Energy.

He went on: “We are not convinced that the economic case for the proposed barrage is strong enough. Hafren Power’s proposal is likely to require a very high level of support over many years through Contracts for Difference. We do not believe at this stage that the barrage would be competitive with other low-carbon technologies.”

Mr Yeo added that Hafren Power must gather “far more detail and evidence” before their project could be regarded as environmentally acceptable.