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An ill wind that blows some good?


By Arlene


In amongst all the forecasts of imminent doom and gloom from George Osborne next week there is one piece of good news forced by cash considerations…
The Severn barrage has been shelved as not economically viable as well as environmentally disastrous~ Yay!
see this from the Telegraph!

Scrapping the Severn Barrage should be used to boost, not bury, tidal power

By Geoffrey Lean Politics Last updated: October 17th, 2010

2 Comments Comment on this article

Is the rocket about to crash? I ask because, just two years ago, David Cameron promised he would put “rocket boosters” behind developing tidal energy if he came to power. But now, it is reported, Energy Secretary Chris Huhne will tomorrow scrap the proposed Severn Barrage, favoured by the last government, which alone could have provided Britain with five per cent of its electricity.

Back in June 2008, in a speech to environmentalists, Mr Cameron said this was something he was ‘really excited about’, noting that ‘Britain’s coastline is over 11,000 miles long and has some of the highest tidal ranges in the world’, providing a ‘free,constantly renewed energy source’. He pledged to put investing in ‘developing new and cost effective technologies to harness wave and tidal power in Britain’ without delay, ‘right at the top of our green agenda’. And both the Tory election manifesto and the Coalition Agreement promised to push marine energy.

In fairness, the Prime Minister stopped short of endorsing the Severn Barrage, and it was not mentioned in either the manifesto or the agreement. And the ten-mile long structure, costing at least £10 billion, is not the best way of tapping the constant energy of the tides. Its economics are dubious, and it would cause considerable environmental damage by changing the flow of water in the estuary. Three official Government watchdogs – the Environment Agency, Natural England and the Countryside Council for Wales – warned that it would result in ‘irreversible impacts’ to the estuary’s ‘internationally important habitats’ for wildlife and its ‘unique ecology’.

But there are other, more attractive options. One is a series of lagoons, which – preliminary studies have suggested – could provide more energy and be built faster than the barrage, without changing the ecology of the estuary: indeed, they might even provide new wildlife havens. More promising still, new technologies are being developed to make energy directly from tidal streams. One such contraption – shaped like an upside down, underwater windmill – is already generating energy from the tides of Northern Ireland’s Strangford Lough. But the most attractive spot of all for them is the Pentland Firth between the Orkney islands and the Scottish mainland; some experts, dubbing it the ‘Saudi Arabia of marine energy’ say it alone could generate up to a quarter of Britain’s energy.

David Cameron still can, and should, make good on his promise, by boosting research into these new options. Britain’s tides are just too good to waste, and they provide a regular, reliable source of clean energy – unlike the intermittent winds on which Government policies are making us too reliant. If he doesn’t, he really will deserve a rocket.

Tags: Chris Huhne, David Cameron, Pentland Firth, Severn Barrage, Strangford Lough, tidal energy

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This is interesting isn't it. I am totally in favour of renewables.....well, who isn't? I do think though, that we have to do our homework first, and it seems that when the homework was done, the barrage turned out not to be the best option for more than one reason!

17 Oct, 2010


Great news ! Now generations of people will still be able to see the Severn Bore :o))
That's another plus on top of the ones mentioned.
Have you seen it anyone ? It's a wonderful sight !

18 Oct, 2010


I,ve seen it on tv Hywel, it is an amazing phenomenom.
I,m going to stick my neck out here, Nuclear, I think is the way forward. Forget what happened in Russia, that was down to bad safety. As much as we might not agree with the French, they have 57 nuclear stations, and a safety record to be admired.

18 Oct, 2010


Yes but on the news this morning they said that Terrorism was a bigger threat than war. If they bombed a barrage it would be better than them bombing a nuclear plant. I worry not about nuclear power but misguided idiots, you know the ones I mean and they are the minute.

18 Oct, 2010


I still think wave power is the best of the lot considering how much sea we have round us~the barrage was crude and simplistic with no thought for the impact on the environment and to be honest no one could accurately predict what would happen until it was too late and the damage was done on top of the billions it would cost.
There are trials going on off Cornwall and that area off Scotland that could provide a quarter of our power sounds like the way forward!~ but no doubt Osbourne won't sanction that either~too short sighted and dogmatic!

18 Oct, 2010


It would be re-assuring especially those who have Grandchildren if we (this generation) could for once put life before money and invest in the future. We have the technology, just lack the will to invest. If we did invest in such important things we would have to pay for it with less of the comforts we now enjoy. Perhaps we should all do a list of all the stuff we spend on, like expensive holidays, Christmas (the commercial one), hideous TV sets, chocolate, well maybe not that extreme!! and so on. Are you having second thoughts yet?

18 Oct, 2010


I don't do expensive holidays and I spend quite heavily on Charities like Lys Nini RSPB Wildfowl and wetlands Woodland Trust Kew RHS Bumblebee Conservation Trust etc on a monthly basis as well as sponsoring bears tigers and squirrels.I try to help animals as much as I can as they can't help themselves.ditto the environment!
I also pay tax but feel that a lot of it does not get spent wisely,mp's expenses for one~ and I resent the super rich and the big corporations that practice tax avoidance and evasion costing the UK billions. As for bank bonuses don't get me started!When will the chancellor go after these fat cats?~he won't because they donate to his party!
If that sort of money was being collected properly and spent on new green technology we wouldn't have a problem!

18 Oct, 2010


I think a lot will empathise with you Arlene, and governments do tend to rely on people like you when it comes to charitable deeds. As for tax evasion by the rich, wouldn't that be a fine thing as it may just give them an opportunity to discover what real riches and often right under your nose.

18 Oct, 2010


~ thanks Heron!perhaps George could set us all an example of Dave's big society by donating a million from his trust fund!
would he feel a million times better?

18 Oct, 2010


As a Conservative I believe in Fairness and would prefer that previous administration pay for their folly. Tower of London for one of them ;-))

18 Oct, 2010


~ I'll let you know on Thursday how I feel about fairness when I find out as a Civil servant if I still have a job..........

18 Oct, 2010


My oh is in the same position Arlene though our Council has done most of it's cuts already.....worrying times :-(
I would be very pleased if our Gov abolished repulsive Tax havens

19 Oct, 2010


nuclear power is not a finite resource , There is only so much uranium ,and once it is used other technologies have to ber found anyway.and the cost of cleaning up the sites that are used as nuke power stations far outwieghs the benefits. dounrey in the north of scotland is a good example. they still get radioactive particles on the shores as a result of having nuclear power.
its said that it will take over 100 years before the site is cleaned and cleared

30 Oct, 2010


~ not happy about nuclear either islander!
Did you hear in the news about the new wave power project in the Pentland Firth~ what do you think?

30 Oct, 2010


hi arlene, the wave and tidal testing areas are based in stromness in Orkney and as a new terchnology it is doing well,
We already have a wave powered generator connected to the grid, and touch wood it won't be long befor more are in place. the pentland firth is earmarked as one of the most promising stretches of water for these technologies. work is starting on the island of Hoy to put the infrastructure in place for the production, also a lot is being invested in Caithness on the other side of the pentland firth so unless the goverment interferes it should go well.
its not the total solution but certainly it is better than nuke, oilfired, or coal fired power stations for the well being of the country. its clean
We have islanders working on the decommisioning of dounrey and it is costing a fortune to get rid of it. I was glad when the scottish government decided scotland was to be a nuclear free nation

31 Oct, 2010


My son is in the same position as you, he works for Sheffield council. he has no idea whether his job will be hit or not, worrying times indeed

31 Oct, 2010


As for the comment by heron above about riches being free, I guess that is not the thing to say to poorer families who fear loosing thier homes in London. why not put a heavy tax on landlords who charge these high rents.

31 Oct, 2010


Heron, re one of your comments at the beginning of this blog, I fear both Nuclear Power AND idiots! But on a lighter note (Hywel) the Severn Bore is well named, and I bear scars from childhood. My Dad - a partial twit and Geography teacher - dragged us all on an outing to see this amazing phenomenon. Well, it felt like hours passed with no SB in sight, just my Dad proclaiming to my Mum at intervals "keep the children well back from the bank, Gwyneth!" in his best teacherish voice.
And eventually after more agonising waiting, a minor wave of what looked like a few inches could be observed. I shan't bother again, sorry!

5 Nov, 2010

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