RSPB expresses concern over proposed Swansea Bay tidal lagoon

The Daily Telegraph Business News reports, 10th January 2017: Tidal Lagoon Power wants to build a world-first lagoon in Swansea Bay and is currently awaiting the outcome of an independent Government-commissioned review of the technology’s potential, led by former energy minister Charles Hendry, to be unveiled on 12th January 2017.

But in a submission to the Hendry Review, seen by the Telegraph, the RSPB warns that “the ecological impacts of tidal lagoons are not currently well understood” and that “any future lagoon should be conditional on Swansea being constructed, operational and this knowledge being available to inform later design”.

An artist’s impression shows plans for the Swansea Tidal lagoon which are under attack
Credit: Wales News Service

Mark Robins, senior policy officer at the RSPB, said it was likely to take several years after the 320-megawatt Swansea project started operating before its environmental impacts could be properly assessed.

That meant the influential group, whose objections have led to other major energy infrastructure projects being scrapped in the past, would “almost certainly” oppose plans by Tidal Lagoon Power to build a 2.7GW project at Cardiff until such an assessment had been carried out and proved that any concerns could be addressed.

The RSPB says lagoons are a “high risk” technology and could potentially cause the loss of habitats for wildfowl and other birds, the “risk of mortality to fish and other animals that pass through the turbines” and could interfere with the sediment flows throughout the estuary.

While it is not yet known whether the Hendry review shares the RSPB’s concerns — with sources close to the lagoon project optimistic the report will be broadly positive — the environmental group’s position nevertheless presents a major obstacle to the company’s plans.

 

Source: Daily Telegraph Business News, 10th January 2017. For further details, see www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/01/10/tidal-lagoon-plans-face-challenge-rspb


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