Severn plans unveiled
A barrage across the river Severn could generate five per cent of the UK's electricity needs
Tuesday, 22, Jan 2008 04:20
Detailed plans of how power could be harnessed from the Severn estuary have been outlined today by the government.
Last October the enterprise and business secretary John Hutton proposed a barrage from the English coast to Welsh coast which is predicted to generate five per cent of the UK's electricity needs.
The feasibility study for the project has been published today, which will also look at the potential of lagoons in the estuary.
When the scheme was first proposed environmental campaigners expressed concern at the environmental impact, saying the estuary is an "irreplaceable refuge for wildlife".
"We must understand the cost and the impact that a project of this scale could have, not least the environmental, social and economic effects," Mr Hutton said today.
"But the need to take radical steps to tackle climate change is now beyond doubt. Tough choices need to be made. We must consider all our low carbon energy options."
The feasibility study will include a strategic environmental assessment and is expected to last roughly two years. It is scheduled to conclude with a full public consultation in early 2010.
The Severn, which has one of the largest estuaries in the UK, has a funnel shape which helps to give it the second highest tidal range in the world at more than 14 metres.
A barrage on the river would use the technology of a hydroelectric dam which would be filled by the incoming tide.