Published: May 15, 2012
Severn barrage back in the spotlight as Peter Hain takes up campaign

The possibility of a Severn Barrage being built across the Bristol Channel from near Burnham-On-Sea to Wales has edged forward this week following the resignation of former Wales and Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain from the shadow cabinet to campaign for a barrage.

The shadow Welsh secretary and Neath MP said: "I want to make a different contribution. I want to take forward the vital project, the biggest investment ever in Wales, £30bn investment, for the Severn barrage, and also the biggest single source of renewable energy in Europe and one of the biggest in the world."

"That's what I want to do and you can't really do that as shadow secretary of state. It's a post that in government I've done for nearly eight years and in opposition for two years and I think it's the right time to make this change."

The UK government has previously rejected plans for a publicly-funded barrage but has not ruled out private schemes.

A private consortium, Corlan Hafren, wants to harness tidal power between south Wales and Somerset to create electricity.

"The private finance is potentially in place through the Corlan Hafren business project and they have assembled the necessary financial interests, sovereign wealth funds and investments," said Mr Hain. "There's all sorts of obstacles in the way and this is one of the reasons I'm standing down," he said. "We will need to get a rather complex hybrid bill through Parliament that's got to be a private bill - it will need government support."

The Severn Lake energy causeway is another project that is also still being actively pushed forward.

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