Dam Fuel Poverty Petition now live
There have been so many responses on this issue I hope you all won’t mind if I try respond ‘globally’ in one new post.
Much of the debate taking place here seems to be over the potential environmental impact of the proposed Barrage and its technical feasibility. I’m not even close to being expert on either issue.
The possibility of silt killing the Barrage seems to be one of the major feasibility issues, and Neil Law presents a pretty compelling argument on that. I do struggle with the idea that something so simple and so out there (Neil’s research is based on Google and asking people – I hope that’s fair to say) could have been missed in all the studies – but then again why not. I can’t call it.
In my original post I (tried to… 🙂 ) duck these issues with the opening gambit – ‘assume that on balance the Barrage is a good thing to do’. Because my real focus is not on the Barrage but on something else.
It’s the idea that the government, in this new world we might be in, could do something radical. Having expressed a desire to fund big infrastructure and with a long-standing policy aim to eradicate fuel poverty, it struck me that these threads could be pulled together. And we the public could become a power generator again.
I looked at the approximate economics of the `Barrage’ and it was clear that in conventional terms it would be challenging to build. And the way we try and deal with fuel poverty is just to keep bunging more money on the fire (so to speak). On their own, neither idea works very well, but when you put them together it’s a different story, it’s almost a piece of magic. The barrage can pay for itself, end fuel poverty and fund enormous sustainable infrastructure year in and year out. That was the gist of it.
I’ve had a bunch of e-mails as well as posts here from people telling me the Barrage is basically a bad idea – or worse, and I’m pushing the wrong thing and making a big mistake (or worse). I’m grateful for all that (honestly), but:
It’s based on a misunderstanding of what I’ve said.
I’m actually technology agnostic. I do believe that the Severn should be harnessed though, it’s too big a potential power source for us not to. And however it’s harnessed there will be impacts, and I believe that we have to accept that as a price we need to pay – the lesser of the two evils of not acting in my opinion.
Anyway, it seems there are several alternative approaches vying for attention and recognition. The Barrage of course, a Tidal Reef (which is the image above, thanks to Rupert Evans), Tidal Lagoons and of course straight forward Tidal Current Generators.
I just wanted to flag that up here, clarify where I’m coming from and thank everybody who has contributed to this discussion so far, thank you all.
The idea I’m putting forward will work equally well with any Severn Tidal scheme, indeed it will even work with Offshore wind – any big sustainable generation project could be tied to the Fuel Poverty program and achieve pretty much the same outcome.
In other news – Number 10 refused to host the petition we submitted last year, stating that “it is outside the scope of the Prime Minister or the Government”! It took a very long time to find this out, as their email to us ‘got lost in the post’.
Not sure who we are supposed to petition in that case… Obama? Cameron? Shame Jim’ll Fix It isn’t running any more 😉
We have decided to run the petition anyhow, but here on the blog.