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Welsh Assembly backs Severn barrage

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CONSTRUCTION OF a Severn Barrage should be considered as part of the government's future energy policy, the Welsh Assembly urged this week.

In its submission to the government's Energy Review the assembly stressed that tide geerated power from, the Severn Barrage could supply 8.64GW of power - equivalent to two nuclear power stations.

The 10km long barrage would harness the Severn's 20m tidal range to drive turbines. It would also carry a road and rail line.

'The barrage would produce zero-carbon electricity on a totally predictable and reliable basis, ' said Welsh Assembly energy minister Andrew Davies.

'Construction would require dealing with some significant environmental and engineering challenges. But the Assembly and the South West England Regional Assembly now consider it appropriate to reexamine the Severn barrage proposals in depth.' Proposals for a barrage between Brean Point in Somerset and Lavernock, South Wales, were fi rst put forward 80 years ago.

A detailed study was commissioned by the Central Energy Generating Board in 1975 but the scheme was shelved as uneconomic.

But with higher energy prices, the barrage is now claimed to be financially viable, with generating costs estimated at 5.5p/ KWhr.

It is backed by the Severn Tidal Power Group, a consortium including Balfour Beatty, Sir Robert McAlpine and Alstom.

The Welsh Assembly laimed that the scheme's £14bn construction cost could be met through private sector finance.

Green groups damned the plan as environmentally destructive.

Friends of the Earth claimed that a network of manmade tidal lagoons could deliver greater electricity output at lower environmental cost.

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