Published: December 18, 2008
List of Severn Barrage schemes to be cut down by government

Brean DownThe Government is expected to significantly reduce the number of power-harnessing schemes it is considering for the Severn Estuary at the start of 2009, it has been confirmed this week.

A meeting of senior ministers was held this week to discuss which of the ten options, which include a £15 billion barrage between Brean Down and Wales, should be looked at in more detail.

The two year feasibility study is approaching the half way mark and the government wants to remove any "no-go" proposals from the list of 10 (shown below).

The meeting included Environment Secretary Hilary Benn, transport, business and Welsh Assembly ministers and South West Minister Ben Bradshaw and the options will be finalised over the next month with a decision due by the end of January.

A scaled-down shortlist would allow experts to focus on the key options and quickly go out to public consultation on them.

.The ten Severn Barrage options:

Outer Barrage from Minehead to Aberthaw – this would be the largest barrage and would make maximum use of the Severn Estuary tidal resource;

Middle Barrage from Brean Down to Lavernock Point – most well-studied option, known as the Cardiff-Weston barrage;

Middle Barrage from Hinkley to Lavernock Point – as option 2 but lands at Hinkley;

Inner Barrage (Shoots Barrage) – also known as English Stones scheme and studied in detail by the Sustainable Development Commission;

Beachley Barrage – barrage further upstream, smaller generating capacity than Shoots;

Tidal Fence proposal – a barrier constructed over part of the Cardiff to Weston line, with open sections, incorporating tidal stream turbines to capture energy from the ebb and flood tides;

Lagoon enclosure on the Welsh grounds (Fleming lagoon) – one of the previously studied Russell lagoons from the 1980s;

Tidal lagoon concept – a proposal for a number of tidal lagoons;

Tidal reef proposal – a concept that would include floating turbines;

Severn Lake Scheme – a barrage just over a half-a-mile wide in the same location as the Cardiff-Weston scheme designed to allow the construction of a number of additional features, including a wave farm on the seaward side and four marinas.

It comes as a number of groups opposed to any scheme joined together to ramp up their opposition to a barrage.

The RSPB, WWF-UK and Friends of the Earth Cymru, along with other leading opponents, called for the government to focus on other schemes.

"The challenge is great, but is one that we support," they said in a letter. "The recommended projects need to help to tackle climate change and be at an acceptable cost to the taxpayer. We argue that they should also minimise harm to the internationally important wildlife, the special landscape and the heritage of the Severn."

"There is an easy option: the ministers could shortlist the projects that have received most attention, such as the proposed Cardiff-Weston barrage. The trouble is, this is the most environmentally destructive proposal up for consideration."

"There is a better approach: ministers could continue to explore the less environmentally destructive proposals, even if their designs need more time to be fully developed. These may prove to be cheaper and deliver more energy in the long run."

"This would be a brave choice, and a visionary one. But it would also be the right choice, given the crucial significance of the Severn estuary for people, birds, fish and other wildlife."

A Government spokeswoman said in a statement: "We always said that at the end of the first year we would look back at the work we have done. If there were something we thought was a no go we would discontinue it. It is unlikely any shortlist would have ten options."

The 10 schemes on the current shortlist include the 10-mile Lavernock Point to Brean Down barrage plan, which could generate up to five per cent of the UK's electricity, and the shorter Shoots barrage further up the estuary.

RELATED LINKS:

Barrage scheme edges closer as engineers appointed to study proposal
Barrage boss visits Burnham to hear all sides of the debate
Severn Barrage 'must not be driven by profit' says green group
Government announces fresh study into barrage feasibility
Barrage plans 'not affected by bid for conservation status'
Entrepreneur 'humbled' by positive feedback about barrage
Barrage company invites expressions of interest
Severn Barrage 'could cause flooding in Burnham area'
Route of proposed Severn Barrage revealed
New group comes forward with alternative barrage plan

Green Party has 'deep misgivings' about barrage plans

Severn Barrage proposals referred to DTI
Huge £650million Severn Barrage plan unveiled
Official Severn Lake Website [External Link]





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