Published: June 10, 2013
MPs say there is 'no case' for a £25bn barrage between Brean and Wales

Plans for a £25bn barrage across the Severn Estuary from Brean Down to Wales should not go ahead in their current form, a committee of MPs has said this week.

Hafren Power wants to build an 11-mile barrage between Lavernock Point near Penarth, to Brean near Burnham-On-Sea.

But MPs have said that Hafren has failed to make the case that it would be good for the economy or the environment.

The firm has responded by calling the MPs' verdict "unhelpful and frustrating", adding the company had more work to do.

The House of Commons' Energy and Climate Change Committee hs criticised a "lack of information and a perceived lack of transparency" about the proposal.

The case for the barrage is "unproven" and Hafren Power "has yet to provide robust and independently verified evidence of the economic, environmental and technological viability of the project", the committee's report says.

MPs were warned about the potential of job losses in nearby ports, and concluded the scheme is no "knight in shining armour" to meet renewable energy targets.

However, supporters of the scheme argue that the tidal barrage could generate 5% of the UK's total electricity needs.

Conservation groups have also warned about the impact on the local environment and on wildlife habitats - which the report says are concerns that the company had "failed to overcome".

The committee added that the UK government should remain open to considering a project in the Severn but "far more detail and evidence" would be required to make an informed decision about Hafren Power's proposal.

Committee chairman Tim Yeo told the BBC: "We think the effects on wildlife could be very damaging. There is a lot of evidence to suggest that these impacts will be very, very hard to alleviate."

"The report does acknowledge that there is the potential to generate energy here. Indeed, we suggest that it might be worth exploring a smaller scheme initially where the impact would be less dramatic."

Hafren Power chief executive Tony Prior said: "The report is unhelpful and frustrating - we all know we have a lot more work to do and we will do it. The government has already told us it is not against the barrage and we are determined to press ministers and officials to engage fully."


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