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Severn green energy project loses government funding

The government will this month sound the death knell for the world's largest tidal energy project – to be built across the Severn estuary between Somerset and south Wales – when it rules out public funding for the controversial £20bn plan.

The announcement will please some environmentalists, who were worried about the impact on bird life in the estuary, but others say such spending cuts will make a mockery of David Cameron's pledge to be the "greenest government ever".

The private sector is unlikely to back the 10-mile tidal barrage, which would be able to provide 5% of the UK's electricity, without government money.

In a report to be published this month, ministers will recommend that further feasibility studies be carried out for one of four much smaller projects, which would cost about £3bn. But they will give no guarantee that the selected option will go ahead. "It will make pretty depressing reading," said one source who has seen the report.

article continues http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/sep/05/severn-green-energy-pr...