A forum of inquiry established by Liberal Democrat MPs, Assembly Members and councillors in the West of England and Wales has today backed the Shoots Barrage as a blueprint for harnessing the tidal power of the Severn Estuary.
The inquiry has held evidence sessions at Cardiff, Bristol and Portishead and has studied the documents which have been prepared by the government as part of its own appraisal of options for Severn tidal power.
The commission was jointly chaired by Northavon MP Steve Webb and Welsh Assembly member Mike German.
The key recommendations are:
- That a barrage near the Second Severn Crossing (the Shoots Barrage) would be better than the much larger Cardiff-Weston barrage
- That there should be pilots of lagoon technology in the estuary
- That there should be serious investment in innovative technology such as the tidal reef and into methods for storing tidal power so that it can be used at times of day when it is most needed
“In tackling an issue as complex and divisive as Severn tidal power, this forum has reached extremely encouraging conclusions that should send a strong signal to the government in Cardiff and London,” said German.
“The Liberal Democrats are committed to finding sustainable solutions, small and large scale, that work for the people of Wales and England - that’s why we’re years ahead of the government in consulting widely and producing this excellent, progressive report.
“As the report clearly states - we cannot afford to let the government waste any more time if we are to avoid dangerous climate change and ensure we have energy and transport infrastructure fit for all our futures.”
Webb led the call to reject the larger barrage proposal, which is supported by amongst others, ICE president Jean Venables.
“For over a century people have rightly been highlighting the potential for power generation from the Severn Estuary. With the threat of climate change getting steadily greater there is now real urgency that we get on with harnessing this source of renewable energy in an environmentally responsible way.
“We therefore reject the large Cardiff-Weston barrage which could take decades to come on stream and could do untold damage to the environment and to the local economy through its impact on the Port of Bristol.
“We believe that a smaller barrage offers the best mix of power output with reduced environmental impact and also offers the chance for a major upgrade to public transport through Wales and the West of England.”