True Cost of Severn Barrage

A new report by Frontier Economics commissioned by NGOs including the RSPB and National Trust, suggests that a tidal barrage is the least cost-effective way of generating renewable energy for the UK.

The barrage could potentially supply 5% of the UK’s electricity in less than two decades, however the independent report suggests that not only will the barrage waste taxpayers’ money, but cause widespread environmental damage to 85k hectares of protected wetlands. The wetlands support numerous important species of wading birds as well as permit salmon, sea trout and sea lampreys to reach spawning grounds.

The projected costs are in the region of £15 billion, however it is thought that this figure could be much greater. This figure does not take into account the value of the ecosystem services the wetlands provide, which it is anticipated would have to be considered as part of the forthcoming legislation in the Marine Bill.

However, given the UK target of obtaining 40% of its energy from renewables by 2020, serious consideration must be given to alternative renewable energy projects.

Link to RSPB Press Release (12 June 2008)

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