Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Details of Severn Estuary Feasibility Study Published

John Hutton, Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, today published the terms of reference for a two-year feasibility study into the potential to harness tidal power from the Severn Estuary. The cross-Governmental project, involving the Welsh Assembly Government, South West Regional Development Agency, and other stakeholders, will analyse the potential environmental, social and economic impacts of a range of possible projects. The study will culminate with a full public consultation in early 2010.

Although a 'Severn Barrage', one of the projects under consideration, would have the potential to generate 5% of the UK's electricity, its development poses grave concerns for many conservationists due to the importance of the Severn Estuary for, amongst others, over-wintering birds, migrating salmon and other species of fish. The Estuary represents 7% of the UK's total tidal resource for wildlife and is afforded a high-level of protection under international legislation, such as the EU Habitats and Birds Directive.


aliaskippa said...

Yesterday, I attended a talk, sponsored by the Western Joint Branch of IMarEST/RINA, in the University of the West of England about the Severn Barrage. The speaker asserted that there was evidence that the low/mid water intertidal area that would be permanently flooded with a Brean-Lavernock barrage is lifeless or tending towards that state. He said that claims that the consequent loss of Natura 2000 habitats were overstated and were biassing the economic anaysis of the project. Is there evidence that the intertidal area of the Severn Estuary is becoming abiotic?

Ceri said...

I have checked with one of the members of the BES who has informed me that the Natura form submitted to Europe states the estuary is thought to be the best example of such a habitat in the UK. It seems that the low/ mid water tidal area is very much alive.