I have so little trust in our government that I think the proposals for a tidal power scheme on the Severn Estuary is really a decoy to help them go nuclear. They’ve proposed a huge green power scheme that would generate power by doing a lot of environmental damage. So now Tony Blair can say “Look, y’know, we did consider non-nuclear alternatives but, right, the surfers wouldn’t let us. Let’s go nuclear.”
I have a bit of respect for Peter Hain, but I think he’s been wrong footed into supporting the proposal. And his statement contains a phrase that sums up the government’s big mistake in their quest to cut CO2.
He said it could help to fill the looming “energy gap” which will emerge as nuclear power stations are gradually decommissioned. “This not just a climate change issue. This debate is about security of supply. It’s about keeping the lights on,” he added.
The problem wouldn’t be so big if we bothered to turn some of the lights off occasionally. Energy saving and microgeneration are a better investment than yet another big scheme.
There are, smaller scale, ways to harness the power of the Severn bore which wouldn’t destroy the ecosystem of the estuary. Rather than condemning the plan outright, perhaps the surfers and environmentalists could propose a few underwater turbines out of the shipping lanes.