Published: February 10, 2010
RSPB warns Severn barrage could create flooding in Burnham area

Building a Severn barrage across the Bristol Channel near Burnham-On-Sea could increase the risk of flooding and adversely affect wildlife, the RSPB has claimed this week.

The conservation charity has made comparisons to a storm surge barrier across an estuary in the Netherlands to illustrate what it says are the "potential risks."

It went on to say that a barrage across the Severn estuary would "devastate the estuary" and also lead to increasing erosion and higher water levels which, in turn, could make shipping channels difficult to navigate.

The group's comments come as the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) continues to examine the viability of a Severn tidal scheme running between Brean Down, near Burnham, to Lavernock Point in Wales.

RSPB Conservation Director Mark Avery told BBC News: "Although smaller, the Oosterschelde barrier is very similar to the Severn Estuary in many ways and it is being damaged beyond repair."

"We have long said the government should invest in innovative schemes which offer the potential to put the UK and UK engineering at the forefront of tidal power without the risk of floods, loss of wildlife and livelihoods," he said.

The tidal power scheme could generate up to 5% of the UK's electricity - as much renewable electricity as we produced in 2008 across all renewable technologies. reported last year how a shortlist of schemes is being considered for the estuary, but the scheme could be threatened by budget cuts.

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