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Row erupts after charity voices Severn Barrage fears
4:30pm Thursday 13th September 2012 in News
“YOUR beaches will be covered with mutilated fish" - That was the stark warning from an environmental charity this week after plans for a massive energy-creating Severn Barrage leapt back up the Government’s agenda.
The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) says turbines from a Severn Barrage between Brean and Wales could kill fish and litter beaches with their remains.
But the leader of one of the barrage projects has dismissed the claims.
MCS pollution programme manager Dr Robert Keirle said: “Although the barrage’s promoters have said the turbines have been redesigned to be more fish-friendly, we’re still concerned that, once operational, the barrage may have an unacceptable impact on fish stocks within the Severn estuary.
“We could see mutilated fish washing up along huge stretches of coastline. Favourite beaches like Weston-super-Mare and Brean Sands could end up being strewn with dead fish.”
The Government previously ruled out a Severn Barrage, which supporters say could meet 5% of the UK’s energy needs, on cost grounds but it is hitting the headlines again after Downing Street said it was ‘carefully considering’ the latest proposals.
Welshman Gareth Woodham, who is behind the 221-turbine, Severn Lake Project, said his scheme posed no threat to fish.
He said: “I’m really angry about this. Our turbines are fish-friendly. They are seven metres high and revolve at six revolutions a minute.
“I would be quite prepared to swim through the turbines to prove they’re safe.”
Mr Woodham insisted the Severn Lake Project would go ahead and would be built by 2020.
He said: “I’ve spoken to the people who will be building it and we have Middle East money to build it.
The cost will be about £12-14billion but I’m more concerned about the bigger picture.
“The Government announces the feed-in tariff in the new year [the price companies will get for their energy. Once that figure is sorted, you will watch this fly, because the investors will know they’re getting a return for their money.”