Friday, August 7, 2009

Severn Barrage ‘will lead to flooding’ in Welsh cities

Sally Williams in Wales Online, via the Western Mail: The proposed Severn Barrage will lead to flooding in Cardiff and Newport, a leading Welsh coastal scientist warned last night. Professor Simon Haslett, director of the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching at the University of Wales, Newport, said a barrage would be on a “losing curve” of energy production and was not a “sustainable solution” because it is likely to create more problems than it solves.

The UK Government is keen to harness the power of the River Severn – which has the second highest tidal range in the world – to generate electricity as part of its commitment to source 20% of the UK’s energy from renewable sources by 2020.

Developers of the 10-mile, £14bn scheme, that would stretch from the Welsh coast near Cardiff to the English coast near Weston-super-Mare, say it could generate up to 8GW – 5% of the UK’s energy needs.

Bur Prof Haslett said: “The barrage is designed to create electricity and to stop sea floods. But its development will lead the sea level to rise by three metres in the estuary and that’s going to drown a lot of tidal mudflats that are currently exposed. “It will also increase groundwater levels around Newport and Cardiff, causing a higher risk of localised flooding.”…

I wonder how today's Severn Barrage plan differs from this 1921 diagram of a plan to harness tidal power on the Severn River in the UK. From Popular Mechanics

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