Severn barrage a long way from becoming reality – PM
THE Prime Minister believes a Severn Barrage is a "long way off" any "rational fruition".
Asked about the project at a House of Commons lunch, David Cameron said: "I don't think it's remotely near."
It comes as Neath MP Peter Hain continues his campaign for the privately-funded £30 billion tidal barrage.
Mr Cameron told journalists Mr Hain and others had lobbied him earlier this year "to explain where they had got to".
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But he added: "It seems to me this is a long way off any sort of rational fruition, because it's not economic at the present time.
"I am sure ideas will come forward for tidal barrages and we will always look at them, and we [have] put in place a good system for funding renewable energy, but I don't think this one is anywhere close to feasibility right now."
But the Prime Minister made clear he thought the idea of tidal barrages was "interesting", saying: "Clearly there's a very large amount of potential electricity locked up in tidal systems."
The proposed barrage across the Severn estuary from South Wales to Somerset would provide five per cent of the UK's electricity needs and create thousands of jobs, say supporters.
But the idea is fiercely opposed by environmental groups who fear damage to wildlife and local habitats.
Mr Hain told The Post the Prime Minister's remarks were not "inaccurate" because the barrage still needed Government approval.
He said: "We need a go ahead in principle from the Government next year then construction could start in 2015, providing £25-30 billion of investment, most of it in South Wales and South West.
"I don't think there's an argument that this is not going to happen tomorrow, I don't have an issue with him [the Prime Minister] saying that, but it does need Government go ahead.
"I don't see what David Cameron said as cool at all, if he was against it he'd have dismissed it altogether, which he didn't."
Mr Hain quit his role as Shadow Welsh Secretary earlier this year to champion the barrage project.
Last month former Defence Secretary Liam Fox launched a campaign to stop its construction.
The Conservative MP for North Somerset claimed the scheme could cost thousands of jobs in England and prove an environmental disaster.
Mr Fox said: "Independent estimates suggest that water levels may be as much as two metres lower which will have a profound impact on the ability of Bristol Port to handle modern cargo ships."