Block the Severn Barrage - from the office of Dr Liam Fox MP

26th November 2012
Block the Severn Barrage - from the office of Dr Liam Fox MP
Dr Liam Fox MP Launches Campaign To Block The Severn Barrage
Today, Dr Liam Fox MP launches a campaign to block the Severn Barrage on the grounds that it threatens thousands of jobs in Bristol and North Somerset, threatens the local economy, and will be disastrous for the environment in the Severn Estuary. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, local businesses, the Bristol Mayor, and many other MPs with constituencies upstream of the barrage – and on both sides of the estuary – have voiced concerns previously but now, Dr Fox calls on them to join him in forming a concerted opposition to the project.
Plans for the barrage, which would run between Cardiff and Weston, had initially been shelved but are now to be re-considered by the Energy & Climate Change Select Committee. The decision to re-open these deliberations was taken very recently and has given under a month for businesses and environmental groups opposing the project to submit their evidence. Dr Fox argues that this is an entirely unrealistic timeline for a project of this scale and will oppose the plans vigorously should the Select Committee move in favour of the barrage
Dr Fox has also welcomed a report by RegenSW, to be published on Monday, looking at all renewable energy options for the Severn Estuary and the Bristol Channel. The report is expected to confirm that there are viable tidal range, tidal stream, wave and offshore wind options for energy production in the region but that the numbers just don’t add up for a Cardiff to Weston barrage.
Speaking today, Dr Fox said “the proposal from the Hafren Consortium is not at all clear, especially on the impact on water levels at Avonmouth. Independent estimates suggest that water levels may be as much as 2 metres lower which will have a profound impact on the ability of Bristol Port to handle modern cargo ships. This threatens 500 jobs directly and 7,500 jobs in the wider Bristol/North Somerset economy but especially in Portbury, Portishead and Pill.” He continued “the economic interest is compounded by the environmental impact of any such projects and I will be looking to meet with the RSPB soon so that I can fully understand the damage the barrage will cause to the salt marshes and mud flats that are used by 69,000 birds each winter.”