Conference to look at alternatives to proposed barrage across Severn
A MAJOR conference which will look at alternatives to a barrage across the Severn Estuary is to be held in Bristol.
The event, which has been organised by Bristol Port, Regen South West and the RSPB, will look at alternatives to the proposed £40 billion barrage from Brean to Cardiff Bay which has been put forward by a consortium based in Wales.
The conference is being held at UWE and the aim is to bring together central government, local authorities, businesses, engineers, environmentalists and academics.
All three organisations are opposed to the idea of a barrage and the news of the conference came on the day the Government announced its support for major projects to take advantage of natural power.
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Speakers will include James Cameron from Climate Change Capital, Juliet Davenport from Good Energy and Matthew Quinn the director of Environment and Sustainability at the Welsh Assembly.
Mark Robins from the RSPB said: "We are living in challenging times and are struggling to kick-start the economy.
"The idea of creating energy from the Severn Estuary is not new.
"It has been talked about many times over the past hundred years or so – yet nothing has happened – perhaps because most proposals have been too costly, too risky and too damaging.
"Current proposals for a barrage are proving controversial and, we believe, both limiting debate and the search for solutions that genuinely work for economy and environment."
Johnny Gowdy from Regen SW added: "We are a group of organisations and companies who have huge ambitions for the Severn.
"We believe that it can become an example of how to create truly sustainable solutions for the 21st century.
"We are confident that the estuary can provide a significant amount of the clean energy that the country needs – without compromising the internationally significant habitats or the existing economy of the area.
"Furthermore, we believe that, by encouraging the use of the Severn Estuary as a test bed for a whole range of tidal technologies, we can help develop a strong sector capable of competing across the world."
The conference is to be held in April and it is hoped that a wider coalition will follow that can develop new proposals for generating power from the Severn.