Lifeline for wildlife welcomed

Monday 18th October 2010

The Wildlife Trusts have today welcomed a decision by the Government to shelve plans for the £20bn Cardiff-Weston Barrage in the Severn Estuary. The leading conservation organisation warned the construction of such a barrage would be a catastrophe for the Estuary’s wildlife.

The proposed ten mile Severn Barrage was the most expensive and environmentally-damaging of the tidal projects put forward for the purpose of harnessing the Estuary’s energy. In today’s announcement, Chris Huhne, secretary of state for Energy, said ‘there is no strategic case at this time for public funding of a scheme to generate energy in the Severn estuary. Other low carbon options represent a better deal for taxpayers and consumers.’ The Wildlife Trusts warmly welcome this decision, and the Government’s recognition that the estuary is internationally important for wildlife.

Were the Severn Barrage to go ahead it would seriously threaten wildlife in the area, including numerous bird species and two genetically distinct species of fish; the allis and twait shad.

Joan Edwards, head of Living Seas for The Wildlife Trusts, said: “The news that the Cardiff-Weston barrage is off the cards for now is very welcome, given the risk it would have posed to the wildlife of the Severn Estuary.

“The Wildlife Trusts support the development of marine renewable technology but it must be the right technology in the right place. The Government appears to have recognised that the Severn Estuary is one of the UK’s most incredible ecosystems, which will become even more important as species have to adapt to climate change.

“The Government must strive for a truly sustainable option for harnessing the tidal power of the Severn Estuary, with minimal environmental impact, and today we hope they have a come a step closer to achieving this.”

Story by RSWT