Severn Estuary © Avon Wildlife Trust
The vast tidal range of the Severn Estuary makes it one of the great natural wonders of the world. It has unique wildlife habitats shaped by the beautiful winding rivers that run down from the Welsh hills to meet the sea of the Bristol Channel.
The Estuary provides a haven for the young of our commercial fish stocks, it is a means of transport and trade, it is the site of many recreational pursuits and by its very nature it brings enjoyment to people of all ages.
The tidal range also makes it a huge potential source of energy. Proposals to use this potential, and concerns about the possible impacts on the Estuary ecosystem, go back decades. So do warnings about the threat of climate change. What remains much less well recognised is the value of wildlife to people, and the urgency to restore our landscapes so that they are resilient to the impacts of climate change. The great risk is that the debate becomes one dimensional, focusing on the need for renewable energy without weighing up the impacts that may result.
This is why it is so vital that we make the right decision about harnessing the Severn: to capture the power of the water without blocking its full flow. In this way fish can still move and the tides can still ebb and flow for miles, creating huge mud flats and marshes. We must ensure that all options for renewable energy generation on the Severn are explored, not just tidal devices, ensuring the right means of harnessing a fantastic resource can be chosen without losing this wonder of the world.
You can download our report on proposals to develop a barrage scheme on the Severn Estuary below and also our specific concerns about the current Hafren Power proposal.
|Severn Barrage - Hafren Power proposal - Key concerns and challenges.pdf||235.11 KB|