TOURISM could be the big loser and thousands of homes in the Burnham area could be at serious risk of flooding if plans for a giant energy causeway go ahead - it has been claimed this week.

More than 100 local residents packed the Princess Theatre on Thursday to hear the Government's shortlisted schemes designed to harness the natural power of the Severn Estuary.

Among the five options are a barrage between Brean Down and Lavernock Point near Cardiff and an offshore lagoon between Hinkley Point and Weston.

A representative from the Department of Energy and Climate Change heard concerns from local people about the schemes.

Chairman of Burnham and Highbridge's Chamber of Trade Alex Turco told the Mercury the local economy could suffer and tourism could be virtually 'wiped out' if the plans become reality.

He said: “The chamber understands the need to generate different forms of electricity but a bombshell was dropped when we were told the lagoon would not include any locks.

“Boats would not be able to use Bridgwater Bay and all we would be left with is a basin full of silt and all that would happen is the end of tourism in the area - it's a shocker.”

“With regards the Brean Down option we would worry about how construction would be able to access the site - the main route in is Coast Road andthere are enough problems there already.”

Local MP David Heathcoat-Amory added: “The local reaction to the schemes seems very mixed and there are some serious concerns over flood risk and the affect on the economy.

“I will be raising this again in parliament and using these concerns as the basis for discussion.”

Local district councillor Bob Filmer added: “This is a huge job and there is an awful lot of work for the Government still to do.”

The Department of Energy and Climate says construction of a barrage would bring new jobs to the area.

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