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Proposals for the Severn barrage have been criticised by RSPB and WWF

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Liberal Democrats support smaller Severn barrage plan


21st September, 2009

Proposals from the Government and Sustainable Development Commission (SDC) would cause 'untold damage' and take decades to set-up, say Liberal Democrats

The Liberal Democrats have entered the Severn tidal power debate by denouncing plans for a full-scale barrage as a 'tidal white elephant'.

In an announcement at their party conference today they backed a smaller barrage, as called for by the Ecologist, which they said would bring more renewable power but cause less damage to the ecology of the estuary.

'The priority is to get on with generating clean, green energy from the Severn. The large barrage from Brean to Lavernock could take decades to come on stream and would cause untold damage to both the environment and the local economy,' said Liberal Democrat MP Steve Webb.

'A smaller barrage will mean more renewable power while remaining sensitive to local ecology and opens up the possibility of a major
upgrade to public transport through Wales and the West of England. Along with investment in new technologies and trialing lagoons, it offers the best way forward.'

The Liberal Democrats have also proposed building a tidal impound in the Bristol Channel/Severn Estuary as a pilot project.

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