‘Game on’ for Severn Lake barrage

THE developer behind an ambitious project to build a privately-funded tidal barrage over the Severn Estuary says that it’s ‘game on’ for the project, and that 2011 could see some major developments.

Gareth Woodham, who originally put in a planning application to build the Severn Lake barrage on March 31 2006, received a formal blessing to carry on with the scheme from the Government following a favourable feasibility study.

And he will meet with senior civil servants later this month to discuss elements of the Severn Lake project which would cost an estimated �14billion and see a causeway with 216 hydro-electric turbines stretch from Brean Down to Lavernock Point in South Wales.

Following the Government’s decision to withdraw potential public funding for the project in October, Mr Woodham, who is based in Neath, Wales, is now optimistic that a privately-funded Severn barrage can be built in the next decade.

If the planning application is granted, then free-flow shipping channels, two wave farms, four marinas and a lifeboat station could all be built as part of the Severn Lake project.

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There are no plans to build a railway or a road between Somerset and South Wales as part of the project, with some people fearful such a road would create a ‘rat run’ for motorists to the M5.

Mr Woodham said: “This project has a 95 per cent support from grass roots environmentalists. I have spoken to Friends of the Earth, the Green Party, members of the RSPB and lots of other organisations in Weston and they all want to have this renewable source of energy.”

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Mr Woodham added that there are five contractors who are among ‘the biggest in their field’ who are attached to the project, which has been provisionally pencilled in for completion in 2020 should it get the green light.

He said: “I shall be making the trip to Whitehall in late January to speak with people from the Department of Energy and Climate Change where we can talk about the finer details of the project.

“This project will harnessing the energy of both the ebb and the flow of the Severn, not just the ebb, and could provide 5 per cent of the country’s energy.

“Now, it’s game on, I’m excited about what this year could bring.”

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