Save The Ribble

A blog dedicated to preserving the beauty and delicate ecosystem of the River Ribble, and opposing any 'vision' to build a barrage on our River and develop on our riverbanks, floodplains and green spaces, causing damage to wildlife and the environment and increasing the risk of flooding to our homes. Save the Ribble Campaign is not responsible for the content of external blogs or websites which link here.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Severn Tidal Barrage Uneconomical AND Disastrous to Intertidal Ecology

An independent report produced by an economic consultancy has shown that the plan to barrage the River Severn to generate electricity would NOT be an economic use of tax-payers' money.

The report, published by Frontier Economics, an independent economic consultancy, said:

'the barrage would be an expensive option compared to other renewable energy and the government's renewable energy target could probably be met using cheaper green technologies.

It said: "Considerable new evidence would be needed to make a large barrage in the Severn estuary an attractive option."'

This comes as no surprise to opponents of the Ribble barrage!
Our own research has shown that the economic costs of barrages are an unsustainable drain on the local, regional and national economy
- and that's even WITHOUT considering the costs to the environment (including economic costs in terms of mitigation measures as the Cardiff Barrage has shown AND that our mudflat and saltmarsh wetlands are effective and sustainable FLOOD DEFENCES).

As Save Our Severn point out:

'Experience has shown the Canadian Governmant that tidal barrages just don’t work in silt laden estuaries and the environmental destruction and increased flooding is just too high a price to pay for so called "green energy"'.

Barraging the Severn or the Ribble or any other estuary in the UK also directly contravenes EU and UK policies regarding Sustainable development - so the Government cannot morally or legally support such a scheme when there ARE cheaper and more cost-effective and LESS ENVIRONMENTALLY DAMAGING alternatives, including wind, waves, and tidal lagoons.

Matthew Bell, author of Frontier Economics' Severn barrage report, said:

"Not only is the private sector more than able to finance a scheme of this scale but, even using the most conservative estimates of costs, the barrage is one of the most expensive options for clean energy there is."

As Save The Ribble have shown, the economic costs of barrages are clearly unsustainable - and there is also the small matter of causing irreparable damage to the ecology of our Internationally important river estuaries as many thousands of hectares of wetland (a habitat under serious decline both in the UK and globally) on the Severn Estuary alone would be lost forever, along with the wildlife which depends on it and on its intertidal ecosystem.
This report shows that the economic costs are unacceptable even when taking into account the possibility of large-scale electricity generation.

As the BBC report:

'Campaigners say some 14,000 hectares of saltmarsh and mudflats would be lost through the building of a large barrage, resulting in the loss of migratory birds that nest there.

It would also hit the fish populations of the Severn, Wye and Usk rivers, which all flow into the estuary above the point where the dam would be built.

Mark Lloyd, director of the Anglers' Conservation Association, said salmon in particular would be lost.

"The salmon population of the Wye and Usk is very important in maintaining a species but also economically, the Wye and Usk rely really heavily on salmon fishing for income," he said.

He added migratory fish would be playing "Russian roulette" with the barrage's turbines at every tide.

The Frontier Economics report was commissioned by the Anglers' Conservation Association, RSPB, Salmon & Trout Association, The National Trust, The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, The Wildlife Trusts, United Usk Fisherman's Association, WWF-UK, Wye Salmon Fishery Owners Group, Wye and Usk Foundation.'

Read more about the Frontier Economics Severn Barrage Report here in The Guardian;

Find out more about the campaign to Save The Severn from a barrage here;

More about renewal energy options which DON'T irreversibly destroy the environment here, and here;

Find out more about why Saltmarsh and mudflats are vital for wildlife and human communities here.

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