By Will Finch
Monday, 03 September 2012
Energy projects could destroy 80% of the Bristol Channel mudflats, say environmentalists and wildfowlers.
Two major energy projects proposed for the Bristol Channel would have a massive impact on wildfowl and wildfowling, local shooters have warned.
Plans for a Severn Barrage, which would use tidal energy to produce 5% of the UK’s electricity, appear to be back on the table after a meeting between David Cameron and Labour MP and campaigner Peter Hain.
It was thought that the giant “energy causeway” across the estuary would not get off the ground due to the project’s £34bn price tag, but Mr Hain said the meeting was “more productive than might have been expected”.
Shooting Times understands that the Government will now consider the proposals, but only on the condition that they are funded solely by private investors.
However, environmental groups and wildfowlers raised concerns about a possible loss of 80% of the area’s mudflats if the project went ahead.
Haydn Jones of the Gloucestershire Wildfowlers Association told Shooting Times that he was in dialogue with the Prime Minister about the potential destruction of an “irreplaceable environment”.
He said: “We understand the need to create a sustainable future for our power generation, but the Government must work out where its baseload will come from — whatever mechanisms it uses there will still be an energy requirement that can’t be provided by the existing technology they are pursuing.”
“Of course, there are some things in life more important than wildfowling, but the Government needs to think very carefully before it goes ahead with anything so extreme as this.”
The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust’s Debbie Pain, said: “The Severn estuary with its incredibly large tides is absolutely the right place to be looking to generate tidal energy. However, that must not come at the expense of the natural environment.”
Meanwhile, a proposal by EDF Energy to build a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point, in Somerset, have been given the all-clear by the European Commission.
In a submission to National Infrastructure Planning, currently considering the proposals, Stuart Hill from Bridgwater Bay Wildfowlers said that the plan would have “an immediate and potentially long term severe negative implication” on the activities of local wildfowlers.
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