Severn Estuary renewable energy ideas to be discussed

Severn Estuary
Image caption The Severn Estuary has the second biggest tidal range in the world

Environmental groups and businesses against plans to build a Severn barrage are coming together to develop ideas for renewable energy on the estuary.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds said it wanted to work with industry to get "the best solution" for sustainable energy from the Severn.

The charity said it was "sceptical" about a scheme to build a £30bn barrage from the Vale of Glamorgan to Somerset.

A conference to discuss harnessing the tidal power takes place on 18 April.

The event has been organised by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), Bristol Port and Regen SW, an independent sustainable energy organisation.

'Constructive dialogue'

Hafren Power, the company which wants to build the 18km (11 mile) barrage, was told on Thursday by energy minister Greg Barker that it must provide more information before the UK government could support it.

The minister also dismissed claims that a law to secure the barrage could be passed before the next general election.

A spokesman for Hafren Power said the company was "disappointed" but would "keep working with the government to supply answers and secure support to proceed".

Tony Whitehead, from the RSPB, said: "With the minister saying that it's not at all realistic that a Severn barrage bill will come before parliament this term we think now is the ideal time for everyone to take stock.

"We want power from the Severn - but no-one's going to consider proposals that haven't thought through the environmental and economic impacts."

Sue Turner, from Bristol Port, said: "We are not at all surprised that the government dismissed the Severn barrage because with our in depth knowledge of the Severn it was clearly not going to work.

"And now what we want to do is have a very constructive dialogue with politicians, technology experts and the environmental groups to find the right technology to generate sustainable energy in the Severn."

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