December 18, 2008
of Severn Barrage schemes to be cut down by government
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.
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.
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;
Barrage from Brean Down to Lavernock Point most well-studied
option, known as the Cardiff-Weston barrage;
Barrage from Hinkley to Lavernock Point as option
2 but lands at Hinkley;
(Shoots Barrage) also known as English Stones scheme
and studied in detail by the Sustainable Development Commission;
Barrage barrage further upstream, smaller generating
capacity than Shoots;
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
enclosure on the Welsh grounds (Fleming lagoon) one
of the previously studied Russell lagoons from the 1980s;
concept a proposal for a number of tidal lagoons;
proposal a concept that would include floating turbines;
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.
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
"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.
Barrage scheme edges closer
as engineers appointed to study proposal
boss visits Burnham to hear all sides of the debate
Barrage 'must not be driven by profit' says green group
announces fresh study into barrage feasibility
plans 'not affected by bid for conservation status'
'humbled' by positive feedback about barrage
company invites expressions of interest
Barrage 'could cause flooding in Burnham area'
of proposed Severn Barrage revealed
group comes forward with alternative barrage plan
Green Party has
'deep misgivings' about barrage plans
Barrage proposals referred to DTI
£650million Severn Barrage plan unveiled
Severn Lake Website [External Link]