Severn Estuary MPs Rally Behind Full Tidal power Appraisal

July 2, 2007 3:38 PM

Today, Jenny Willott MP rallied a group of cross-party MPs who have constituencies along the Severn Estuary, behind her motion in Parliament calling for the Government to immediately undertake a full appraisal of the benefits, costs and impacts of all the tidal power energy options in the Severn Estuary.

The motion calls for the Government to carry out studies on all tidal energy options to establish the energy generating capacities, the likely carbon reductions, the compatibility of different technologies, the potential for technology to be exported, the business viability and the impact on local communities, ecology and wildlife.

The current study by the Sustainable Development Commission (SDC) will collate, review and present recommendations based on existing studies and research. However, much of this is old and out-of-date. Further more, many new tidal technologies have only had limited studies and impact assessments.

Commenting, Jenny said:

"The Severn Estuary is arguably the second best tidal energy resource in the world. The Government must get to grips with this issue and commission a full independent study so that we know the full benefits and costs of each tidal energy option.

"The threat of climate change and the vulnerability of our energy supplies are very serious. But in the Severn Estuary, we are sitting on a resource that could provide a significant part of the answer to both problems.

"The Severn Estuary alone could provide power for 5% of the UK's electricity needs, replace 2 nuclear power stations and significantly cut national carbon emissions. As far as I am concerned, it is less a case of if we do something with the Severn's tidal power, but what we do and when we do it.

"Whatever the recommendations of the SDC, there is still a great deal of work to do before we have the full picture on all the various technologies.

"I am determined that we do not rush into making an expensive mistake without having all the facts at our disposal. Nor do I want to see the Government let this issue slide.

"The Government must ensure that the necessary up-to-date studies and appraisals are carried out without delay. I am delighted that so many of my fellow MPs from all parties who have constituencies in the Severn Estuary area feel the same way."

The text of Jenny's Early Day Motion can be found below.

Tidal Power in the Severn Estuary

That this House notes the potential for tidal power in the Severn Estuary to generate up to five per cent. of the UK's total electricity demand, improve security of energy supplies and significantly reduce UK carbon emissions; calls on the Government, with the involvement of the Welsh Assembly, to immediately commission an independent strategic evaluation of all the options for exploiting tidal power in the Severn Estuary, including potential levels of power generation and carbon emission reductions, ecological impacts, business viability, impact on the local area and local communities, compatibility of the different technologies involved and the potential for exporting technologies to international markets; and believes that this should form the basis of a Government decision on a strategic development framework for tidal power in the Severn, and potentially in other UK estuaries.

It has been co-sponsored by:

- Paul Flynn - Labour, Newport East

- Steve Webb - Lib Dem, Northavon

- John Penrose, Conservative, Weston-Super-Mare

- Alun Michael, Labour, Cardiff South and Penarth

- Stephen Williams, Lib Dem, Bristol West

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