This study was carried out in 2004 to assess the facts based on the various Severn Estuary barrage proposals. In light of recent focus on regenerating this scheme, I have decided to write a brief opinion that you will hopefully find useful.These opinions have been formed as a result of my previous research. I have no affiliations with any of the companies or organisations mentioned in any capacity – neither now or in the past. Should this change, relevant details will be posted here.I should also add, that I have not personally seen the latest details of the proposals and am relying on media information. If anyone has a copy they could forward, please contact me.

The latest Severn Estuary barrage proposals

Firstly, some basic facts. The current proposal would produce the equivalent energy of 2 nuclear power stations. The construction phase would be circa 10 years and create thousands of jobs. The barrage would provide an additional bridge across the Severn. It is estimated to cost £15 billion.

Additional claims by supporters

The barrage would create a ‘blue lagoon’ behind the structure.
“does not create any carbon dioxide at all. So it’s very climate friendly” Roger Hull of the Severn Tidal Power Group Link
Although some bird habitat will be lost, marine life and other birds will increase.
The barrage will provide flood protection.


Anyone who has seen the Severn, will know a blue lagoon will not be created. Brown maybe, but not blue.

Once constructed, a barrage would contribute little if any carbon dioxide emissions. However, it is proposed to be made from concrete – a process that produces significant volumes of carbon dioxide.

The point is, the bird habitat that would be lost is of international significance. 19% of the European ringed plover population rely on the Severn. 7% of the European population of bewick swans rely on the Severn. 4% of the European population of dunlin, 3% for white fronted geese and black tailed godwit. See full table.


The Severn Tidal Power Group have been shown to not provide full details on environmental effects previously (link). Despite producing significant amounts of clean energy, a barrage would still have a massive negative effect on the environment. Yet, there is an option to produce clean energy from the Severn without those negative effects. Tidal lagoons. For more information on lagoons, please visit Tidal Electric

All comments and opinion on this page are those of Paul Bryant BSc (hons).

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