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Severn Barrage backer sticks to plan despite MPs' criticism

The developer behind the latest Severn Barrage proposals has pledged to prove they are viable within two years despite criticism from MPs.

Hafren Power chief executive Tony Pryor told NCE that the company would increase its efforts to prove the business and environmental case for the tidal energy scheme.

Earlier this month the energy and climate change select committee said the developer had failed to overcome serious concerns about the economic and environmental impact of building a barrage between England and Wales.

Committee chairman and conservative MP Tim Yeo said: “The Hafren Power project in its current form has not demonstrated sufficient value as a low carbon energy source to override local business and environmental concerns.”

Yeo has since stepped down from his role temporarily amid allegations that he had advised a businessman in the rail sector who was due to give evidence to his committee.

Criticism of the Severn Barrage proposal was a further blow to the scheme, after energy minister Greg Barker said in March Hafren should provide more information.

Pryor told NCE the developer would not give up on its plans.

“We believe so firmly in the benefits of the scheme to the area and the nation, we will find ways to keep putting forward the case and prove it,” he said.

“It will probably take about two years from now to get to a point where people say it is proven.”

Pryor described the committee report as “frustrating”, saying the MPs had failed to fully acknowledge major changes in the scope of the scheme to counter earlier criticism. He also accused the government of failing to give indications of what it considered to be an acceptable barrage scheme.

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