§ Mr. Swayne
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of the potential for generating electricity using the tidal power of the Severn estuary; and if she will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Timms
Between 1978 and 1994 the Government supported a number of studies under its Tidal Energy Research and Development Programme. Those studies included an assessment of the feasibility and financial viability of a Severn barrage scheme.
The Government's Energy White Paper published in February 2003 looked at potential renewable sources of energy, including large scale barrage. It concluded that this type of scheme is very expensive and that any plans for a Severn Barrage would raise strong environmental concerns and as such it would not be fruitful to pursue at this stage.