SOUTH West Wales would get an historic jobs boost among the 50,000 workers needed to build the Severn Barrage — with skills centres to train local workers.
The caissons (gigantic concrete structures) would be assembled and then floated out from an enlarged Port Talbot docks, leaving the largest deep water port in North West Europe ideal for the new generation of ultra large container ships and jobs with it.
The barrage's 1026 bi-directional turbines would be manufactured at Port Talbot. And because these turbines have been specifically designed to be as fish-friendly as possible, they could be exported globally for a new generation of tidal power right across the world — another skilled jobs legacy.
The barrage would be the biggest renewable energy project in Europe — the equivalent of around three nuclear power stations or over 3,000 wind turbines.
There is no bolder commitment to tackling climate change and delivering a greener Wales and a greener Britain.
Alternative schemes for the Severn Estuary such as reefs and lagoons offer only a fraction of the power, and they would have other disadvantages.
Harnessing the second largest tidal range in the world, the 11-mile Cardiff-Weston barrage would generate five per cent of the UK's electricity of predictable and therefore baseload energy.
Hafren Power would finance it entirely by £25 billion of investment with no Treasury grant required — a huge private-sector stimulus at a time of a chronic lack of investment.
The barrage would not affect existing shipping to other South Wales ports, nor Bristol, because special locks would enable ships to pass through without charge. Also, millions of tonnes of aggregate would be shipped from these local ports to build the barrage.
Hafren Power is also engaging with wildlife groups to minimise the impact of the barrage on fish and bird life. There would be substantial funding for up to 50 square kilometres of habitat compensation and displacement. Some evidence suggests the Severn's ecology and wildlife would actually be reinvigorated.
In any case the environment is changing because of global warming — and for the worse. The iconic Dunlin wading bird has been declining drastically.
The barrage would also protect 90,000 properties and 500 square kilometres of flood plains around the Severn, saving billions in flood damage and defence costs.
It would provide the cheapest electricity in Britain — a half to three-quarters per cent cheaper than coal, gas, wind or nuclear for well over 100 years.
One other potential benefit is an option for road and rail link over the top of the barrage.
All in all — and with the necessary wildlife safeguards — the barrage should be a no-brainer.