Government still won’t open coffers for Severn barrage

The Government still won’t open the public coffers to help finance a tidal power scheme across the River Severn (pictured), it confirmed yesterday. The comments are likely to be another […]

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By Vicky Ellis

The Government still won’t open the public coffers to help finance a tidal power scheme across the River Severn (pictured), it confirmed yesterday.

The comments are likely to be another knock for a £25billion Severn Barrage proposed by Hafren Power.

In its response to a report on the project brought out by parliament’s energy watchdog in the summer, the Government said the company “would need to improve its proposal for it to merit further serious consideration.”

The statement re-emphasises a decision made in 2010 that the Government “did not see the strategic case for public investment in a Severn barrage”, adding it “has not, however, ruled out a privately funded scheme coming forward”.

It goes on to say Hafren Power needs to carry out an “in-depth” study of environmental impacts, put forward more information on turbines, gain commitment to the project from low head turbine manufacturers and detailed evidence on the potential jobs created and what the impact on river flooding would be.

The Government added it is prepared to further consider the Hafren Power proposal once this information is provided.

At the time of the Energy and Climate Change Committee’s summer report, Hafren Power’s Chief Executive Tony Pryor said it was “unhelpful and frustrating”, admitting: “We all know we have a lot more work to do and we will do it.”

He said the barrage would create 20,000 construction jobs and a further 30,000 jobs and be “much cheaper and last much longer” than offshore wind farms “which have high levels of public subsidy”.