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Private consortium may take on Severn Barrage project

The Severn Barrage scheme has been ruled too expensive for public funding - but could a private consortium now take it on?

Energy Secretary Chris Huhne has today announced that the government will not be funding a Severn Barrage energy scheme because of the prohibitive costs involved. A study says there’s no ‘strategic case’ for investing public money at the moment.

Environmental groups have welcomed the news. But this afternoon a private consortium says they still think the barrage will go ahead.

Speaking to ITV Wales Duncan Golestani Roger Falconer from Cardiff University says a barrage of some kind across the Severn Estuary represents the most efficient use of an estuary for exploiting tidal energy.

He says he is unsurprised that the government has decided not to fund the project which could have cost as much as £30bn but that a private consortium were still interested pursuing a possible tidal structure between south Wales and south west England.

Watch Duncan’s interview with Roger Falconer at ITV.com/Wales

The proposed scheme has been criticised by groups like the RSPB because of the potential reduction of mud-flat habitats for estuary birds.

A feasibility study published today said that while a barrage across the river Severn could provide enough electricity to power the entirety of Wales the high cost tidal power scheme would be high risk in comparison to other ways of generating electricity.

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