The most detailed plans yet have been revealed for the Severn Barrage. Martin Shipton reports
The fate of the proposed Severn Barrage could be determined in the first half of 2013, it has emerged.
Former Welsh Secretary Peter Hain, who resigned from the Shadow Cabinet to campaign for the scheme, has called on the UK Government to back it within that timescale. He believes that as well as providing 5% of the UK’s electricity needs, it could transform the economy of South Wales.
He said: “The Barrage will power the UK for more than 120 years, cleanly, securely and sustainably generating as much electricity as three to four nuclear reactors or more than 3,000 wind turbines. It injects more than £25bn of private investment into the UK economy – no Treasury funding is needed at all. With the multiplier impact on the economy, that is a stimulus of about £70bn.
“The Barrage will be a massive boost to the economies of South Wales and the South West of England, with 80% of the investment being spent in the UK; other forms of renewable energy have to date imported up to 80% of their equipment and services from abroad. Some 50,000 jobs will be created during the nine-year build, also leaving a legacy of industrial, tourism and leisure jobs.
“Some 1,026 turbines will be installed in the Barrage – new, slow-spin turbine technology capable of being exported from Britain to the rest of the world. Gigantic caissons will be built and assembled and then floated out from its deep-water casting yard at Port Talbot, which will be transformative for South West Wales. The other benefit is a legacy in Port Talbot of the largest deep-water port in North West Europe, which would be ideal for the new generation of container ships – ultra-large container ships which otherwise would have to find a port on the other side of Britain.”