19. What plans his Department has to generate tidal energy from the River Severn. (56270)
Following a two-year feasibility study, the Government concluded that there was not a strong case for public investment in a Severn tidal power scheme in the immediate term. However, that does not preclude a privately financed scheme coming forward in the meantime, and we are actively talking to developers about their plans for various tidal energy schemes in the Severn.
The Government have decided against the Severn barrage, but it is important that we do not lose the impetus to harness tidal power in the Severn. Will the Minister give more detail on any discussions he has had with the Welsh Assembly Government on alternative plans? How far advanced are they?
I cannot give details of commercially confidential discussions, but we are encouraging developers to come forward with a range of proposals and looking to be as helpful as we can. The primary barrier to the previous proposal was the £34 billion cost, which in the current circumstances just did not seem feasible. However, we are trying to create a constructive framework for other, private proposals, and I would be happy to discuss the matter in more detail with the hon. Lady.