The Estuary

Severn Estuary Tidal Power - Resource Page

Photo of the Severn Crossing, by Jonny Page Photo Credit: Jonny Page

Tidal Power in the Severn Estuary and Inner Bristol Channel

As the UK Government is committed to generating 20% of the nation's energy from renewable sources by 2020, a tidal power project in the Severn estuary could therefore contribute to the UK’s commitment to meeting the European Union’s Renewable energy target along with domestic and international greenhouse gas targets. However any scheme is inevitably going to have a significant potential impact on habitats and wildlife within the estuary and some of the proposals could also influence shipping to the ports of Cardiff, Bristol, Gloucester, Newport and Sharpness.

The subject of tidal power in the Severn Estuary never seems have been far from the headlines for the last few years or so. It is the biggest issue currently affecting the estuary and one which the Severn Estuary Partnership is keen to see properly debated.

With the Severn Barrage scheme on hold at this stage, the door has been opened for other schemes to harness the tidal power resource both in the estuary and areas of the Bristol Channel. Some of these technologies involved were presented at the Sustainable Severn conference held at the University of the West of England in Bristol, on the 18th of April 2013.  Recently a frontrunner has emerged in the form of Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay (Tidal Lagoon Power), who submitted plans for a £850m tidal lagoon in Swansea Bay which could provide power for 120,000 homes as a first step towards developing technology that could meet 10% of the UK's electricity needs from the tides.

Just in the last few days, Tidal Lagoon Power has increased this momentum still further by unveiling plans that for a second tidal lagoon between Cardiff and Newport, with a capacity of between 1,800MW and 2,800MW, or the equivalent of meeting the power needs of every home in Wales.


Tidal Power in the Bristol Channel


Tidal Lagoons Latest News


Severn Tidal Barrage

Less than two years ago, the most obvious candidate was the proposal for a Severn Barrage scheme from Lavernock Point near Penarth to Brean Down near Weston-super-Mare (frequently termed the Cardiff-Weston Barrage). However this was delivered a potentially fatal blow by the House of Commons Energy and Climate Change Select Committee, which, after taking written and oral evidence from relevant organisations and individuals, published its findings ‘A Severn Barrage?’ on the 10th of June 2013. This report stated that although a tidal barrage across the Severn could contribute to energy and climate change objectives, the £34bn Hafren Power scheme had failed to demonstrate economic, environmental and public acceptability, . It added that potential environmental impacts had not been adequately addressed, and concluded with the recommendation that the Government should not support the proposed scheme in its present form and that Hafren Power undertake and make available, further assessments.


Websites, Reports and Conferences

All website links correct as of 03/03/2015, please contact if you find any that are broken.


About the Severn Estuary Partnership

Note: It is not the intention of the Severn Estuary Partnership to take any position regarding the debate about tidal power in the estuary, merely to provide a resource on the subject. About us. The different groups on the estuary and their various websites are easily viewed from the Severn Estuary Gateway.


State of the Severn Estuary Report

This document is set to be the first in a series that reports on the state of and changes in the natural and human environment of the Severn Estuary, establishing baseline data in the context of climate and other coastal change.

One of the main objectives was to inform a wide ranging audience, including local people and industry professionals alike, on why the Estuary is so unique by providing a non-technical overview of the Estuary environment; focusing on its uses and resources.

Future editions of the report will focus on the identification and analysis of a robust set of sustainability indicators, which can not only be used to determine the health of the Estuary environment and its resources, but will also aid in the development of effective management measures.

State of the Severn Estuary Report

The ‘State of the Severn Estuary Report’ has been produced by the Severn Estuary Partnership and Cardiff University, in collaboration with the Environment Agency (Wales). With support from the Interreg IVb IMCORE project, the report has been developed to incorporate contributions from the University’s lecturers, local industries, stakeholders and even Estuary residents – such as Miranda Krestovnikoff, presenter of the BBC’s Coast series – who kindly wrote the foreword and launched the summary document at the 2011 annual Severn Estuary Forum.

Back to top of page

Bookmark and Share
© 2002-2012, site maintained by Severn Estuary Partnership | ContactCopyright flickr twitter facebook