The £15 billion Severn Barrage proposals needs looking at closely, but concerns about the potential negative environmental impacts of this monster project are widespread. There are also some serious questions about how the barrage will be funded and whether it really is the best way to go.
There are certainly strong arguments from many Green groups like Friends of the Earth that Tidal Lagoon technology could generate energy at less cost and with very significantly less damage to the environment. These lagoons would impound a much smaller area than the barrage and could be sited off the coast, avoiding the most sensitive inter-tidal mud sites used by wildlife.
There is great suspicion that the current scheme is being put forward under the aegis of tackling climate change, but with profit being the main motive. The scheme also involves the construction of a road across the top of the barrages, which would greatly increase traffic.
We need to look very carefully at these barrage proposals: too many big projects whether it is nuclear power stations, Wembley stadium, the new NHS computer system or the Millennium Dome run well over budget. The Rand Corporation estimate complex engineering projects run over by a factor of between 2 and 5 times their original cost.
Stroud Greens have sent an open letter to all Gloucestershire County Councillors as they are starting to debate tidal energy possibilities. To see the letter and the questions that need answering go to Report section of Glos Green party website: