A controversial plan to generate power through a hydro-electric project on the river Severn has received the endorsement of senior politicians from the UK government.

The Severn Barrage project, planned for construction between Burnham-on-Sea and Lavernock Point, near Cardiff at a cost of GBP15 billion, has been touted as a potential contributing solution to the possible upcoming energy gap the UK faces and therefore has received the endorsement of Wales First Minister Rhodri Morgan and Welsh Secretary Peter Hain.

According to the BBC, The Severn Tidal Power Group (STPG), a joint venture between six power engineering and construction firms, say the project could generate up to 6% of the electricity demand of England and Wales. The group believes the barrage would take just six years to construct and would be operational by 2017.

However, environmental groups have reacted angrily to the political endorsement, arguing that the project would have a major detrimental impact on the local ecosystem. The RSPB in Wales states that 80,000 wildfowl will be affected, while a report carried in local Burnham news suggests two fish species will be lost if the project was realized.