Bristol Port boss David Ord accused of using influence as a Tory donor to sway David Cameron against Severn barrage
Claims that the boss of Bristol Port used his position as a prominent Conservative Party donor to lobby the Prime Minister over plans for a barrage across the Bristol Channel have been dismissed.
David Ord, the co-owner of Bristol Port, has been a vocal opponent of the plans to build a £30 billion barrage from north Somerset to South Wales to harness energy from the Severn Estuary.
The firm behind the project, Hafren Power, is based in Wales and says it would prove to be a massive boost for the region's economy.
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The port has always argued a barrage would ruin its business and lead to the loss of hundreds of jobs, so has led the opposition to the plans. Wayne David, Labour MP for Caerphilly and a shadow minister, has claimed Mr Ord had used his influence as a Conservative donor to block the proposals.
David Cameron had appeared to come out in support of the scheme, but changed his stance in recent weeks.
Mr David has tabled a question in Parliament asking when Mr Cameron last met with Mr Ord.
According to supporters of the barrage, the Government has become increasingly negative about the project in recent weeks.
Mr Ord did not want to comment on the claims, but a spokeswoman for the port dismissed it.
She said: "Basically, the supporters of the barrage have realised that they have started to lose the argument. They know they are losing support from the Government for the scheme because it is fundamentally flawed. Instead of looking at the flawed scheme, they are trying to blame the failure on someone else."
Mr Ord, who bought the port with business partner Terence Mordaunt in 1991 for just £30 million, has been a long-time supporter of the Conservative Party. He has donated more than £300,000 to it in the past six years.
Hafren Power spent last week giving evidence to a select committee, along with other interested parties.
The group claimed the plans to build an 11-mile tidal power station across the Severn Estuary would generate five per cent of the UK's electricity.
Tony Pryor, Hafren Power's chief executive, said: "We will deliver green, safe, secure and ultimately the cheapest electricity for Britain into the next century.
"The barrage will create 20,000 construction jobs and protect tens of thousands of properties from rising sea levels and storm surges.
"We believe this is a project whose time has come, but it will not be at the expense of upstream port jobs, fish or birds. We are determined to get it right."