Plaid Cymru wants to see the energy harnessed from the Severn, but we have insisted that it is done in the least environmentally damaging way. Local opinion is sceptical of the purported benefits of the Cardiff-Weston Barrage and the environmental movement is universally opposed to it. The RSPB are now prepared to accept the smaller 'Shoots Barrage' (located near the Severn crossings) which would still displace some wildlife but would not be as damaging as the Cardiff-Weston Barrage. The environmental groups are saying that the large barrage will result in ecological disaster. There are well documented concerns about the cost of the larger barrage, and about its potential impact on local communities. And Adam Price has argued that it should be opposed on the grounds that it will result in the further exploitation of Wales' natural resources with all of the income generated from the scheme reverting to London coffers.
The environmental groups claim that the ongoing feasibility study underestimates the alternatives to the Barrage. According to them, the power calculations for the various energy projects are out of date.
No one is arguing against harnessing the tides of the Severn for renewable energy. In the light of this new Atkins report, the UK Government's priority should be to fully test the alternative technologies. Whatever scheme is selected will be in place for many decades. The price of getting this wrong is too high.