Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Being a Severn bore...

Today I had the chance to debate the issue of power generation from the River Severn at Westminster with DTI Minister Malcolm Wicks. These so-called 'adjournment debates' don't lead to a vote or necessarily lead to immediate action, but they do give you a platform to challenge a Minister about a local or topical issue in far more detail than is normally possible in a brief oral question.

My emphasis today was very much on the need for a fresh appraisal of the many different types of schemes that have been proposed for harnessing the tidal power of the Severn. These include everything from a full-blown 10 mile long barrage across the estuary from near Weston to near Cardiff, to underwater tidal current turbines, via other options such as tidal lagoons. Each has its advantages and disadvantages in terms of cost, power potential and environmental impact, and the champions of each approach make their own claims and counterclaims which are hard to reconcile.

In response, the Minister said that next month's energy white paper will have something to say on power from the Severn and that the 'Sustainable Development Commission' will report in July on the results of its own analysis. I hope that this work can then be built on so that we get a full evaluation as soon as possible and can then make some decisions.

As Shakespeare might have said, "There is a tide in the affairs of men..."

1 comment:

Laban said...

It'll wipe out some beautiful, desolate wetlands, Slimbridge Wildfowl Trust and the millions of birds who use the mudflats, and destroy the unique Severn Bore - on which the world long-distance surfing record was set a year or so back.

The "plus" side ? Lydney and Purton will build massive marinas, house prices will quadruple in places like Sharpness, and the developers will move in to build the kind of places that no working person can afford. And all that lovely electricity of course.