The UK Government is currently evaluating plans to build a 10-mile long barrage between England and Wales that would house up to 300 turbines capable of meeting 5% of the UK’s electricity need.

The Severn Barrage

The Severn Barrage project would cost approximately £15 billion and, supporters claim, would produce clean and sustainable electricity more or less indefinitely. Working at peak capacity, the barrage could generate 8.6GW of power (8.6 billion Watts) – equivalent to the output of eight nuclear power stations.

Criticism and support

The Cardiff-Weston Plan is the most ambitious of a number of proposals to span the estuary and could be in operation by 2020. Critics, including climate change and conservation groups, have pointed out that constructing the barrier would cause the emission of 10 million tonnes of CO2. Project backers suggest that, given its huge capacity to generate ‘clean power’, this carbon cost would be ‘paid back’ within eight months of operation.


shutterstock_1038500134   300

Engineering Policy Unit 

Our Engineering Policy Unit works closely with members to raise the profile of engineers and engineering potential, to generate discussion and provide thought leadership.

Read our policy-related Themes and reports