Liberal Democrats from Wales and the West of England have gathered in Yate to discuss the latest proposals for a Severn Barrage.   The group, which included local MP Steve Webb and South Glos. Lib Dem leader Cllr Ruth Davis, met at Poole Court to hear expert evidence on the best ways to harness the tidal power of the River Severn.  

Before the last General Election the group undertook a detailed commission of inquiry on Severn Tidal power which rejected the idea of a single huge Cardiff-Weston barrage and instead called for a variety of methods to be used including tidal lagoons and tidal stream technologies.   The group has now re-formed in the light of proposals from Hafren Power to use new turbine technology for a large Severn Barrage.   At its recent meeting in Yate the group heard from renewable energy experts Regen South West, and will also be talking directly to Hafren Power.

Commenting after the meeting, Steve Webb said:

“We urgently need more clean, green energy, and harnessing the tidal power of the Severn is an obvious way to do this.   But this does not necessarily mean a single huge barrage which could have huge environmental impacts and would also undermine the Port of Bristol which is a major source of employment and investment in the area.  The early evidence we have taken suggests that there are other technologies such as tidal lagoons which could produce renewal power much sooner and with much less in the way of adverse side-effects.  There is a danger we go on talking about barrages for years but nothing ever happens, so there is much to be said for smaller scale projects.   But we will look forward to hearing directly from the company that has revived the idea of a large barrage to see if they have anything new to say”.