NGO reaction to Swansea Bay tidal lagoon project

798px-Swansea_Bay_Panorama

I blogged about the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon project last week and suggested that wildlife NGOs should probably get behind it – unless they have spotted something that I have not.  It looks like it should produce a decent amount of renewable energy and not do much harm top wildlife.  It seems that the NGOs agree with me:

WWT’s Conservation Director, Dr Debbie Pain, says:

WWT has long considered that the opportunities presented by the nation’s tidal resources should be explored as one of a suite of other options for low carbon energy production.  We also think that priority should be given to projects that can be delivered without significantly and irreversibly damaging the natural environment.  This is why we were against a Severn Barrage, and also why several weeks ago we wrote a broadly supportive letter about the Swansea Bay lagoon planning application. If this lagoon goes ahead, it will tell us a great deal not only about how this technology can be used to produce low carbon energy, but also about how to manage and reduce the environmental impacts of tidal lagoons.

While no two schemes will have the same impacts, it will be essential to learn as much as possible from what would be the first tidal lagoon to help improve the design of any future projects. Of course, our support for this proof of concept scheme does not necessarily imply support for lagoons at other locations – each will need to be judged on its merits.

and the RSPB’s Sean Christian said:

The Severn Estuary is an inviting source of renewable energy. We believe well planned and monitored projects are the best and most sustainable way of harnessing this potential. Encouragingly, the proposed Swansea Bay tidal lagoon could fit this model.

We welcome the constructive pre-application dialogue on wildlife matters and will continue to work with the applicant to resolve any outstanding issues throughout the pre-examination stage.

Given the novelty of this type of project, the continuing uncertainties over environmental impacts, and the appetite for roll-out of similar projects in the future, it is essential that a comprehensive and robust monitoring package is put in place to inform future development proposals and impact assessment.

That sounds quite positive to me.

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3 Comments

  1. Alan Cranston says:

    Well done Mark, it's important to be in this kind of place. There was a danger at one point of the RSPB being "in favour of all wind turbine projects except this one" (just about avoided) and so it's great if you can influence the NGOs away from seeming to be against all developments of this sort.

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  2. Alan Wheatley says:

    This seems to be one of the most promising developments in recent years. We should give an unequivocal "Yes" to Swansea Bay and look forward hopefully to similar and bigger projects in other locations, based on what we can learn from this "pilot plant".

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  3. Emily Down says:

    Very sadly Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay has attempted to keep the related Dean Quarry activities hidden. Although, by their own admission, there are other options available to provide the stone required for the construction of the Tidal Bay Lagoon, they are choosing to reopen Dean Quarry on the Lizard Peninsula in Cornwall (on a much greater scale than previously) and to build a 600m breakwater straight through the Marine Conservation Zone, with devastating effects on the marine wildlife. While I fully support efforts to produce renewable energy, I do not believe this should be done at the cost of our marine wildlife and would urge Tidal Lagoon to give more consideration to getting the stone from one of the three in Europe that would be capable of providing it, all of which are already up and running and have been for years. This would save an AONB, SSSI and a MCZ.

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