May 6, 2008 12:00 AM

Commenting on the appointment of a Parsons Brinkerhoff to head up the environmental impact assessment over possible tidal power projects in the Severn Estuary, Jenny Willott, Welsh Liberal Democrat MP for Cardiff Central, said:

"This is welcome new step towards Severn tidal power but I am concerned over the appointment of Parsons Brinkerhoff.

"We have been campaigning hard for the government to carry out a comprehensive and completely impartial assessment of all the possible tidal power projects in the Estuary and it finally seems to be happening.

"Parsons Brinkerhoff may well prove to be unbiased and objective in their assessment, but their public support for the Shoots Barrage is worrying, especially if the evidence suggests that their initial assessment in favour of a barrage over other projects was wrong.

"There are a number of different environmental concerns including the impact on wildlife, water quality, silt flow and whether a tidal power project would infringe the EU Habitats Directive and these must be approached on an open and neutral basis.

"We cannot afford to get this wrong and the climate change clock is ticking. The Government must work to ensure that no stone is left unturned, that the assessment is genuinely independent from start to finish and that all deadlines are met."

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