BBC Wales – ‘A Barrage of Questions'
Week In – Week Out

The production and broadcasting of this programme by BBC Wales represents a significant watershed in the entire debate over the future of the Severn Barrage and its construction.

The Barrage is being promoted by Jonathan Porritt and the other leading environmental climate change proponents as an essential sustainable totem to show our commitment to reduce C02 emissions. This is not only erroneous; it is disingenuous.

The implication is that this expensive, highly damaging and relatively untried renewable energy source must be built as a part of our commitment to reduce C02 from energy generation.

So let’s “destroy the planet” to “save the planet” seems to be the Porritt solution. But this is wholly misconceived. There are so many less damaging, more effective and cheaper solutions to converting our energy and heat supplies to renewable sources.

‘Stop the Barrage NOW’ believes that the ‘grand gesture’ to demonstrate commitment to climate change action is insulting to the livelihoods and intelligence of all those people who are living round the Severn Estuary. It is also a falsehood because the financing of the project may well be impossible for the Government and the tax payer. This focus on the barrage means that all the more imaginative technologies which are being developed to create renewable energy from tidal force and wave energy will be stunted and sidelined by the focus on the Barrage. And yet, they seem likely to offer affordable, conservation sensitive solutions in a faster timeframe than the Barrage.

The siltation arguments are scientifically overwhelming and threaten flooding and poor barrage performance. These facts are incontrovertible and are more credible than the vague assurances produced by Roger Falconer.

The economic arguments demonstrating the wretched value and prodigious costs of the Barrage summarised by Frontier Economics and the IPA reports are far more impressive than the so far non-existent “science” emanating from parts of Cardiff University. Can we have the science to critically examine?

And expect the 3 million people in an around the Severn to sacrifice their economy, their jobs and the rich and wonderful, unique environment represented by the Severn, on the altar of the “grand gesture” of a monolithic energy producer as represented by the Barrage is a step much too far. We can achieve the 20% of renewables by 2020 and more with intelligence and technology without resorting to this deeply flawed scheme.

‘Stop the Barrage NOW’ campaign says “Stop the spin” and start the real work to make our great waterway the source of renewable energy without destroying all that is magnificent about it.

As Ann Were from Wales Green Party said in response to the Porritt showcase;
“Technology can, and must, play a part in tackling climate change but it is not the only tool available to us. The £15b - £20b would be better spent on smaller, less damaging schemes, energy efficiency measures, and demand management, the benefits of which would be seen almost immediately."


For further information please contact:
Katrina James or Debbie Smith, Stop the Barrage press office
Tel: 0117 317 8117 or 07843 087 861(Katrina) 07778790015 (Debbie)
Email: katrina@stopthebarrage.com debbie@stopthebarrage.com

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