back to article Gov announces Severn tide-energy scheme shortlist

The government has announced its shortlist of ways to exploit the tidal energy of the Severn estuary, potentially one of the richest renewable-energy resources in the world. The shortlist of five proposals includes the headlining, controversial idea of a massive barrage spanning the Bristol Channel from Weston-super-Mare to …


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  1. Ru

    Three gorges a bit of an ecological mess? You aint seen nothin yet

    I wonder whether the ecological cost of the inevitable environmental catastrophe these sorts of projects will cause exceed the cost of cleaning up a bunch of nuclear power stations.

    I'd be willing to bet that the nuke option will turn out better.

  2. Matt


    Aren't they proposing that we could harness the power of bird song? Then we don't need to destroy any habitats or ruin the views out of anyone's windows. They've dismissed claims that this solution is unworkable as "unnecessary pessimism".

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Takes me back...

    I remember doing a project on the Severn Estuary Barrier in school (at Clevedon) for a GCSE in 1988. They said it'd take a while to make their minds up...

  4. paulc

    Say goodbye to the Severn Bore

    most of these schemes will mean the tide no longer rises high enough in the upper reaches to cause the phenomenon...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The largest of these would have seen a barrage from Minehead to Aberthaw generating 25.3 TWh each year, almost 1 per cent of all the energy the UK uses. However, its cost was estimated at £35bn, making the energy very expensive...

    Ah the price of a bank.. only more useful, think of all those construction jobs generated without the need to build a polluting runway...

  6. Tim

    Concrete & the environment

    Would these barrages be made from concrete, by any chance, and has the cement industry resolved the problem it had yet with the creation of vast amounts of CO2 as part of its manufacturing processes? If not I feel its use is inappropriate.

    However, is climate change blamed on water vapour instead of CO2 nowdays? If so the above is pretty irrelevant, oops.


  7. michael


    the cleb death match to end all death matches

    and as usual noboady cares

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Just for S's and G's

    Click on the "Expand Image" links on that page about the French reactor.

    Vive le Bad Web Design!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    Gwan then, build nuclear, and watch your fuel bill go through the roof. Please, we know tidal barriers are expensive and damaging, and that part of your report is very good.

    But the pro-nuclear twaddle peddled here is screaming for you to learn how to use your mathematical scalpel in both directions. How much does nuclear really cost? Assuming the current route of nice new standard fission reactors, and taking into account the actual real costs of security and waste?

  10. Alistair

    I'm all for it and no half-measures

    And I have to say, as a regular Severn estuary recreational water user, don't let them tell you the place is an important habitat for millions of nice birds and fish. The place is a _marine desert_ almost devoid of marine life and therefore not home to a lot of wading birds. There is too much silt in the water which makes it opaque to sunlight which means very little plant life which supports very little fish life which supports very little bird life.

    Plus, the tidal range is approximately halved by the barrier, not eliminated, therefore some inter-tidal zone will remain which will most likely support _more_ life than before.

    One can only hope there is a way to stop the big tidal barrage from silting up.

  11. JimC

    > Say Goodbye to the Severn Bore

    Exactly so: lets just vandalise a rather wonderful natural phenomenum as well as as hundreds of square miles of nature... ecological nightmare... Just a terrible thing...

  12. michael


    " How much does nuclear really cost? Assuming the current route of nice new standard fission reactors, and taking into account the actual real costs of security and waste?"

    as was posted in the article about wind most of the costs for nuclure include the cost of decomising witch includes the cost of managing waste

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cost of the Severn Barrage

    Not forgetting that the 'full crossing' barrage would provide considerably reduced road communication distance with S Wales, thereby reducing fuel costs. Indeed, our Irish friends might be asked to put up a few €billion towards construction since it is to their shores that the juggernauts pound up and down the M4 via Fishguard.

    Speaking of leprechauns, it can't have escaped anyone's notice that there are far too many people on this Earth consuming far too much energy. I propose we install free dispensers of condoms and 'morning after' pills on every street corner. Objectors might be offered a free exit visa and EasyJet ticket to Rome.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    (untitled) <- can you get the code monkeys to put this in by default? thx.

    Perhaps the wading birds would like to move a little further inland from their current positions? They would find they could stand rather than swim.

  15. Adair Silver badge

    Change is gonna come

    Meanwhile, somewhere else on the planet an earthquake dislodges the face of a mountainside which duly blocks the mouth of the estuary below, creating a dam. Certain species of wading birds move elsewhere while other creatures die out in that locality, but in due course other species replace them as a new ecosystem establishes itself. That's life folks; if anyone wants to call it environmental destruction, feel free, but I'd rather have that than try to deal with the destruction caused by radioactive isotopes loose in the wild with a half life of 10s nay, 100s of thousands of years.

  16. Dick


    What's going to happen to the elvers?

  17. Gordon Silver badge

    Re : Elvers

    Weren't they wiped in a war with the Dwarves years ago?

  18. Anonymous Coward


    I Studied Renewable Energy at Uni bac in 98, I wrote a paper at the time that had the cost at around 12 billion then , So I would take these figures with a big pinch of salt (the salt mixed with silt that will clog the estuary on a regular basis after they build this thing). And what about the poor fishes who is looking after their rights (Shami do you need to expand your portfolio)

  19. druck Silver badge


    What is the point of saving the planet (as is the bogus climate change mantra), if the cost is to concrete over one of Britain's most beautiful estuaries and destroy all the associated wildlife habitats, including the world renowned Slimbridge bird sanctuary. All for a massively expensive way of generating a tiny fraction of the country's electricity demand. Just as with the wind white elephant, it is an oft overestimated fraction ignoring the several hours of slack water every day.

    Worse still affects the viability of two prime nuclear sites at Oldbury and Berkeley, which could generate far more electricity at a lower cost (including decommissioning) without destroying the estuary and generating massive amounts of CO2 from the construction of concrete barrages.

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