7:10am Thursday 13th September 2012 in Letters
REGARDING the Severn Barrage. Alongside the grave environmental concerns there are important economic questions about the proposed barrage.
My understanding is that the barrage will only generate electricity when it is completely finished and even then, only as the tide flows in, which means that other sources of energy will still be needed. Secondly, although much is made of ‘public money not being involved’, the proposal requires massive borrowing from foreign governments. We have all learnt the problems of massive debts and it is surprising that anyone is suggesting we borrow in this way. A third concern is that jobs created at docks like Port Talbot, outside the barrage, would only be at the cost of jobs inside the barrage at Avonmouth - so are not new jobs at all. Alternative strategies such as insulating homes and reducing energy use in our communities would produce much quicker reductions in carbon emissions and would result in reduced costs to consumers, rather than the increased costs of servicing the massive debt incurred by the barrage. The development of underwater turbines would also have quicker effects, be cheaper and would enable Wales to develop expertise which could be applied elsewhere in the world creating real new jobs.
The energy of the Severn Estuary must be captured to generate clean electricity.
Politicians like dramatic gestures but the people of South Wales and Penarth in particular must ensure that a careful appraisal of the options is made before decisions are made on how we proceed.
Paul Kinnersley Via e-mail