Bethan Evans, Reporter
Sunday, September 9, 2012
THE Prime Minister has asked officials to look at reviving plans for a Severn barrage which could provide links from Weston to Cardiff.
The barrage project was originally rejected by the Government last year after it was revealed that construction costs could be as high as £30billion. There were also a number of environmental concerns.
But hopes that the project might go ahead were revived when a consortium, Corlan Hafren, brought forward the idea of a privately-funded 10-mile barrage between Brean Down and Lavernock Point, near Cardiff, which would cost about £26billion.
The team has received backing from Weston and District Chamber of Trade and Commerce and now seems to have the support of the Government after it said the scheme can be completed without public funding.
This development comes after Peter Hain quit the Labour front bench to head the campaign.
The Prime Minister has now asked Energy Secretary Ed Davey and Oliver Letwin, the Conservative policy chief, to look in detail at the scheme.
The team has said the benefits of the barrage include clearer sea water, more jobs and the possibility of road or rail links from Weston to Cardiff.
Engineering consultant Dr Roger Falconer, who is a Halcrow professor of water management, and part of the consortium, said the barrage would last at least 125 years.
Dr Falconer said the barrage could reduce up to 14,000 inter-tidal habitats but could also produce clearer water.
He said: “We are talking about a dramatic change. The barrage will have a lasting impact and could bring in excess of 50,000 jobs for the whole area, which will mostly be in the Weston and Cardiff region.”