Published: August 20, 2012
Plans for £30bn Severn Barrage from Brean to Wales given boost

Plans for a £30bn barrage across the Severn estuary from Brean Down, near Burnham, to Wales have been given a boost after Prime Minister David Cameron instructed officials to look into them further.

It follows a meeting with Peter Hain, who left his post as shadow Welsh secretary to back the project.

Supporters say the barrage, from the Vale of Glamorgan to Brean, would provide 5% of the UK's electricity and create thousands of jobs. However, environmentalists object, and say it would harm local wildlife.

It is understood much of the funding for the scheme would come from Kuwait and Qatar.

"We had a very good meeting - the prime minister promised to look into it," Mr Hain told BBC Wales.

"It was a more productive meeting than might have been expected. It's encouraging that Number 10 are taking the barrage much more seriously than has been the case over the last few years."

"Government support is an absolute pre-requisite for getting the whole project underway. Not a penny of taxpayers' money would be needed for this £30bn investment, which would be transformative for Wales."

"It would create 20,000 jobs in construction and another 30,000 in activity around the barrage."

The UK government previously rejected plans following a two-year feasibility study found the cost could be up to £34bn, double the initial estimate. It did not, however, rule out private schemes.

Last year, the Corlan Hafren consortium submitted a business plan to the Department of Energy and Climate Change outlining a new proposal.

A seperate bid called Severn Lake, overseen by entrepreneur Gareth Woodham, is also being developed.

A Downing Street spokesman told the BBC: "The prime minister met Peter Hain and Corlan Hafren last month to discuss the Severn barrage proposal. The government is keen to promote a diverse range of energy supply and will consider the proposals carefully."

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