The Tidal Power of the River Severn
There are plans to build the world's largest tidal power station -
The Severn Barrage
The Severn Barrage is a proposed tidal power to be built across the River Severn Estuary at the Bristol Channel.
The range of the tide here is 14 metres, the 2nd highest in the world. This makes it perfect for tidal power generation.
The Severn Barrage could cost up to £20billion. It involves the construction of a 16km (10 mile) barrage between south of Cardiff in Wales to Brean Down in Somerset, England.
The barrage would basically be a dam acting as a bridge between England and Wales and would hopefully last up to 200 years.
It would be the world's largest ever renewable energy project!
How Will it Work?
Sluice gates would allow the tide to flow in; these would then be closed at high tide to enclose huge quantities of water. The trapped water would then return at high pressure when the tide turns to generate electricity. this would generate the same amount of electricity as 3 nuclear power stations, providing 6% of the current electricity usage of England and Wales. This would be the same as 8 coal power stations!
Environmental Effects of the Barrage
There is a huge amount of opposition to the barrage from WWF andRSPB who say that the effects on wildlife would be disastrous and irreversible.
At the moment, the Severn Estuary is a Special Area for Conservation with many rare species of birds reliant on the mud flats and surrounding coasts. These include oystercatchers, dunlins, ringed plovers and curlews.
Preventing the Flooding in the Future?
At the present time, there is a £35 million scheme planned to improve the flood defences between the Severn Estuary and Gloucester which will take 20 years to complete.
There are also many plans to build flood defences in the Worcestershire region, including defensive walls and barriers, embankments and flood gates.
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