Severn barrage: Why aren't alternatives included?
7:20am Thursday 30th August 2012 in Letters
REGARDING the article ‘Severn Barrage is back in the frame’ (Penarth Times, August 23).
The 2006-8 assessments of the Severn Barrage did include alternative schemes for tidal energy. So Dr Debbie Pain of WWT was right to remind us that tidal lagoons, a tidal fence or a tidal reef may be better, both for power generation and the environment.
Indeed, following the assessment, a study of the REEF concept by consultants Atkins and aero-engine makers Rolls Royce was endorsed by government (DECC). The originators of the concept, Evans Engineering, welcomed this as independent confirmation that the REEF concept is both valid from a hydraulic perspective and on track to become the most environmentally friendly solution for capturing tidal energy from the Severn (http://www.severntidal.com/).
The report published by DECC before the spending review said that a REEF type system from Minehead to Aberthaw could capture up to 50 per cent more energy than the Lavernock-Weston barrage. As it taps energy of the tidal flow, it would not impede shipping and would have little effect on the tidal range in the upper Severn.
We’d expect Alun Michael MP to argue in his column (August 23) that the Reef, lagoons and fence are all included in PM Cameron’s new assessment. Indeed, a tidal barrage that strongly alters the upper Severn could only get legal approval if there are no less-damaging alternatives for tidal energy.
What’s the reason for Peter Hain and Cameron not including them? Is it poor advice or because the lobbyists can’t face an open contest?
Barry & Vale FoE