Barrage would bring dead fish - claim

THE latest proposals for the Severn Barrage scheme have been met with fierce opposition by an environmental charity which says residents in North Somerset could see ‘mutilated fish washing up along stretches of coastline.’

The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) has released a report after plans to revive the multi-billion pound project were brought to the Government’s attention.

Despite the scheme being rejected by the administration last year - after it was revealed the barrage could lead to environmental problems and construction costs of up to �30billion - David Cameron has asked officials to look at reviving the project.

This comes after the consortium Corlan Hafren brought forward the idea of a privately funded 10-mile barrage between Brean Down and Lavernock Point, near Cardiff, costing about �26billion.

But the new report by the MCS says it is the wrong project in the wrong place.

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In the report Dr Robert Keirle, MCS pollution programme manager, said: “Although the barrage’s promoters have said the turbines have been re-designed 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.”

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The Prime Minister has asked Energy Secretary Ed Davey and Oliver Letwin, the Conservative policy chief, to look at the scheme in detail.

Engineering consultant Dr Roger Falconer, who is a Halcrow professor of water management and part of the consortium, said the barrage would last at least 125 years but could reduce up to 14,000 inter-tidal habitats.

Dr Keirle said: “MCS would prefer to see a mixed bag approach, consisting of on and offshore wind turbines, tidal lagoons, and wave and tide turbines.”

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