Energy Minister Criticises NGOs Over Severn Barrage

The UK Energy Minister, Malcolm Wicks, has criticised the RSPB and other NGOs for adopting a ‘no’ position to the development of a Severn Barrage.

Mr Wicks, speaking to the House of Commons Welsh Grand Committee, said that the RSPB were “clearly not understanding that unless we are prepared to take some courageous action on climate change the devastation of species will be truly enormous”.

He said:”It is the duty of a sensible NGO (non-governmental organisation) supported by the public that occasionally they say yes to projects and (are) not always seeking the comfort zone of saying no to a barrage, no to a wind farm, no to this, no to that.” “There needs to be a responsibility and a seriousness in all organisations, especially the environmental ones.” Mr Wicks also said that if the Government’s assessment of the Severn Barrage, due to report next year, revealed severe environmental impacts, the project would be suspended.

The RSPB has hit back at the Minister, saying that the development of a Severn Barrage would be an extremely costly means to achieve the same benefits as less expensive renewable energy projects, concomitant with tremendous loss of wildlife in the Severn Estuary.

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