Strong conditions for barrage plans

PLANS for a 16km barrage from Brean to Wales moved a step closer this week as a major report into tidal power gave support to the idea - but with strong conditions.

PLANS for a 16km barrage from Brean to Wales moved a step closer this week as a major report into tidal power gave support to the idea - but with strong conditions.

The Sustainable Development Commission (SDC) report released on Monday supports the project in principal but outlines the massive impact the Severn Barrage would have on wildlife in the area.

Last week the Government announced it wants to carry out a feasibility study into the barrage.

If the project is successful, the barrage would power more than 200 turbines and initial estimates say it could create up to 40,000 jobs.


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The SDC report says developing a Severn Barrage would have significant positive effects on climate change and securing energy for the future. But there would be a loss of up to 75 per cent of the existing inter-tidal habitat’, which is internationally protected.

The Government watchdog laid down a series of tough conditions the Severn Barrage would have to meet in order to be sustainable, including full compliance with European directives on habitats and birds.

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Weston MP John Penrose has also raised concerns about the structure, which would stretch from Brean Down near Weston to Lavernock Point in Wales.

He said: “I am delighted the Government is looking into the feasibility of the Severn Barrage but this study will not analyse any alternative methods of harnessing the power of the Severn, such as tidal lagoons.

“If the experts decide a barrage isn’t the right answer, we will be left with no properly costed alternative to take its place.”

Tidal lagoons remain one of the other major ideas being floated. Circular walls in the estuary could be built to let water move in and out, turning turbines inside.

Other groups have raised concerns about the impact on wildlife in the area.

A spokesman for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds said: “A barrage would cut the Severn’s tidal range by half, reducing the amount of land and food for wildlife. Many birds could starve and attempts to breed could prove unsuccessful.”

Prospective parliamentary candidate for Weston, Mike Bell, says the Government should get on with it and take action.

He said: “The local council and our community must take every chance to make the case for protecting our environment and ensuring the best possible outcome for Weston.”

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