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Minister denies government opposition to Severn Barrage

Energy minister Greg Barker last week denied the government was against building a tidal power barrage in the Severn estuary but insisted that any developer must be “credible”.

Barker has criticised private developer Hafren Power’s £25bn proposals, telling the Commons energy and climate change select committee that Hafren’s plans lacked detail (News last week).

But he said there was still an opportunity to develop a scheme.

“We’re not against [a Severn Barrage] but it has to be sensible,” said Barker. “It’s got to meet economic and environmental concerns.”

He said the government had not yet seen a “compelling case” that will satisfy these concerns.

Barker said the project needed a “credible developer” and that Hafren Power did not employ enough staff to be considered as such.

Hafren Power chief executive officer Tony Pryor said Barker’s comments were disappointing as his organisation was poised to unveil a delivery team to help move the project forward.

The select committee is reviewing plans for a barrage and is due to make a recommendation to the Department for Energy and Climate Change in April.

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