Plans to build £34bn Severn barrage scrapped

The Government has scrapped plans to build a tidal barrage across the Severn Estuary

Plans to build a tidal barrage across the Severn Estuary have been scrapped. Energy Secretary Chris Huhne has announced that the

Government does not see a strategic case for bringing forward a Severn tidal power

scheme in the immediate term.

One of the reasons for shelving the project is the estimated £34 billion cost – it is thought that it is unlikely to attract the

necessary private investment in the current economic climate. The barrage is also considered high risk in

comparison to other ways of generating low-carbon electricity. The extreme

tidal nature of the Severn Estuary would be fundamentally altered by a barrage, the Government says, which would impact on some bird and fish


The plan had been to build the barrage across the Severn Estuary from the English coast to the Welsh coast.

It is not thought that any of the Severn schemes examined could be

constructed in time to contribute to the UK’s 2020 renewable energy target, so

the case to build a scheme in the immediate term is weak. However, the

Government has not ruled out a barrage scheme in the longer term, but considers

that the Beachley Barrage and Welsh Grounds Lagoon options are no longer