Government urged further to research Severn barrage plans

Published on Thursday, 13 September 2012 11:21
Posted by Vicki Mitchem

WWF Cymru, a leading conservation organisation has called for caution to be taken for the plans for a Severn barrage.

Alun James, the Policy Officer at WWF Cymru said:

"On this latest barrage plan, our message to Government and the developers is clear – establish the facts and show us the evidence. We are pleased that the Government is looking at renewable energy projects as an alternative to new fossil or nuclear power stations, but in the case of the Severn barrage, we want to see a lot more research carried out."

"There is a lot of work to be done on the technology and on its impact on the local environment. For example, the knowledge on fish movements in the Estuary is still inadequate. The Government and consortium must be completely open on the new proposal and must disclose all research plans and findings. Low head turbines may well solve some of the environmental concerns but it is essential that their impact be fully assessed."

"As we showed in our Positive Energy report, we support a major shift to renewables so that we can have an affordable, reliable energy supply as well as a healthy environment. However, if Severn tidal energy is to play its part, much more research is needed on the environmental impacts as well as on the different ways in which the power of the Severn could be harnessed."

In response to the Government's feasibility study (2008-2010), the WWF has advised that they believe uncertainties exist and that these must be addressed through additional research, in particular in the following areas:

1. Further knowledge on the ecology of the Severn Estuary particularly on bird and fish behaviours and the effect such barrage would have on land use and habitats.

2. What impacts there would be on the water levels and flood risk.

3. The development of less invasive turbine technologies.

4. Further assessment and development of electricity generating technologies to reduce the environmental impact.

Source: ©Green Energy

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