Severn Barrage

So it’s been confirmed that the Government is going to pull the plug on the Severn Barrage. (Can you pull the plug on something powered by tidal energy? Must be a better metaphor….Or at least a bad pun).

And no, I’m not prepared to stoop to a ‘The Tide is High’ blog title. I think I used “High Water”, Uncle Tupelo, ace track, last time round…. There must be plenty of songs about waves, tides, rivers….  ‘Say Hello, Wave Goodbye’?

Here’s Chris Huhne’s statement:  and here’s the DECC press release, in which he says “I’m fed up with the stand-off between advocates of renewables and of nuclear which means we have neither. We urgently need investment in new and diverse energy sources to power the UK.” And then goes on to say that we’re not getting it for the Severn Barrage scheme!

The coverage in today’s Bristol Evening Post focuses on the negatives associated with the project: the cost of such a major infrastructure project, the environmental concerns, the economic impact on the port, and the uncertainty and risk associated with attempting such an ambitious and untested project… all of which I’ve blogged about in the past. I don’t dismiss any of these concerns lightly, but neither do I think they’re insurmountable (the lagoons option, for example).

Paul Flynn, MP for Newport, is making a Point of Order right now, calling for Chris Huhne to make an oral statement to the House on this issue… He’s right, and we should try to get a debate on it. And I think Meg Hillier has just done the same…

On a vaguely related point, Bristol has slipped down to fourth place in the Sustainable Cities Index, but apparently it’s top for Quality of Life. Good to see that rising school standards are noted in the survey as contributing towards this… thanks to a Labour government, etc, etc!

Update: Here’s the response from Meg Hillier, Shadow Secretary of State for DECC:

“The Government’s statement on energy today only gives half the story. To junk the use of the Severn as an energy resource and not look at any alternatives in the biggest tidal resource in Europe until 2015 just beggars belief. The private sector has been keen to invest in the Severn and there is huge potential to develop British expertise for export. A delay will mean that Britain’s green industry risks losing to overseas rivals. David Cameron had pledged to put investing in ‘developing new and cost effective technologies to harness wave and tidal power in Britain’ without delay, ‘right at the top of our green agenda’. He is breaking that pledge with today’s announcement.”

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