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Historic jobs boost claim if Severn Barrage built

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: January 31, 2013

Comments (10)

SOUTH West Wales would get an historic jobs boost among the 50,000 workers needed to build the Severn Barrage — with skills centres to train local workers.

The caissons (gigantic concrete structures) would be assembled and then floated out from an enlarged Port Talbot docks, leaving the largest deep water port in North West Europe ideal for the new generation of ultra large container ships and jobs with it.

The barrage's 1026 bi-directional turbines would be manufactured at Port Talbot. And because these turbines have been specifically designed to be as fish-friendly as possible, they could be exported globally for a new generation of tidal power right across the world — another skilled jobs legacy.

The barrage would be the biggest renewable energy project in Europe — the equivalent of around three nuclear power stations or over 3,000 wind turbines.

There is no bolder commitment to tackling climate change and delivering a greener Wales and a greener Britain.

Alternative schemes for the Severn Estuary such as reefs and lagoons offer only a fraction of the power, and they would have other disadvantages.

Harnessing the second largest tidal range in the world, the 11-mile Cardiff-Weston barrage would generate five per cent of the UK's electricity of predictable and therefore baseload energy.

Hafren Power would finance it entirely by £25 billion of investment with no Treasury grant required — a huge private-sector stimulus at a time of a chronic lack of investment.

The barrage would not affect existing shipping to other South Wales ports, nor Bristol, because special locks would enable ships to pass through without charge. Also, millions of tonnes of aggregate would be shipped from these local ports to build the barrage.

Hafren Power is also engaging with wildlife groups to minimise the impact of the barrage on fish and bird life. There would be substantial funding for up to 50 square kilometres of habitat compensation and displacement. Some evidence suggests the Severn's ecology and wildlife would actually be reinvigorated.

In any case the environment is changing because of global warming — and for the worse. The iconic Dunlin wading bird has been declining drastically.

The barrage would also protect 90,000 properties and 500 square kilometres of flood plains around the Severn, saving billions in flood damage and defence costs.

It would provide the cheapest electricity in Britain — a half to three-quarters per cent cheaper than coal, gas, wind or nuclear for well over 100 years.

One other potential benefit is an option for road and rail link over the top of the barrage.

All in all — and with the necessary wildlife safeguards — the barrage should be a no-brainer.

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10 comments

  • flepwales  |  January 31 2013, 7:57PM

    All those promises of jobs to get everyone onboard, anyone remember Amazon, paid for by the WDA to bring jobs to local people (not sure whats local anymore), with the ammount of immigration already, Romania and Bulgaria also coming to work here next January and employers not prefering to hire through agencies, I wonder who will actually benefit.

    |   -3
  • siarad2  |  January 31 2013, 6:14PM

    Lost another posting @Zoomer The same things were said of the Swansea barrage & electricity generator but it didn't happen. The successful methods used were copied for the Cardiff barrage.

  • siarad2  |  January 31 2013, 6:11PM

    @Zoomer The same things were said of the Swansea barrage & electricity generator but it didn't happen. The successful methods used were copied for the Cardiff barrage.

    |   1
  • GowerHooker  |  January 31 2013, 4:21PM

    Excellent news! Port Talbot to have the "largest deep water port in North West Europe". If anyone from the MOD reads this, please consider moving the submarine base in Faslane to Port Talbot if the morons in the SNP get their way. I could manage that commute! It would be an excellent way for the MOD to get a suitable base for the RN's pride, whilst allowing Hafren Power to stump up some of the infrastructure costs. Who would argue with the extra jobs for Port Talbot. Plus, the submarines wouldn't pollute the beaches like those dirty merchant ships and with only a movement or two a week, no one would notice. Matelots would be happy to make the journey from Port Talbot to either Swansea or Cardiff for a night out on the train; much better than being ripped off by local cabbies in Faslane to go to the dump that is Helensburgh. Everyone's a winner!

    |   6
  • Zoomer  |  January 31 2013, 1:43PM

    I remember when the Cardiff Barrage was planned in the 1970's. All the wildlife groups came out and protested that the Barrage would destroy all the migrant birds flying into Cardiff Bay if a Barrage was built. There was also scaremongering about all the basement properties within about two miles of the Barrage, that would have seawater in their cellars. They didn't. As for the migrant birds flying in from Siberia, they flew a few yards further, to the other side of the Barrage, and carried on as normal !

    |   7
  • siarad2  |  January 31 2013, 12:09PM

    That link is blocked as unsafe by my spyware/antivirus: "This site contains links to viruses or other software programs that can reveal personal information stored or typed on your computer to malicious persons." Had this problem before with Tinyurl for a week before they sorted it.

    |   -4
  • siarad2  |  January 31 2013, 12:00PM

    So they've now changed the turbines to bi-directional but it's still only 5% which the old design achieved with ebb tide only turbines, seems odd.

  • RichardCorso  |  January 31 2013, 11:19AM

    Please try this link http://tinyurl.com/cnldvra ) It seems the other link had one character (a full stop at the end) that caused to the link not to work.

    |   -4
  • brochadav  |  January 31 2013, 10:41AM

    I'm not surprised they can find some evidence that this would help wildlife, it's the cynic in me. But that doesn't stop me saying yes. You have to weigh up the positive against the negative. For me the benefits far outweigh the negative aspects. Besides, nature is very flexible, it adapts and recovers. If all the necessary interested parties (Government, private investment, RSPB etc) co-operate properly this could prove to be a wonderful thing. Cheaper, guaranteed power which will show wind farms up for what they are (expensive and unreliable) and possibly provide another transport link from Wales to the west country. Also a huge number of jobs, a decent percentage of which will be permanent.

    |   2
  • RichardCorso  |  January 31 2013, 10:40AM

    No body wants the pollution caused by the increased shipping traffic into Port Talbot harbour - They are proud of the blue flagged beach and wabt to keep it that way. Why not build these concrete caissons in Newport Docks - just a half mile or so from the proposed Severn Barrage! Is the increased pollution Peter Hain's thank you to Port Talbot? More on the alleged corrupt management company heading the construction consortium who wish to build the proposed Sever Barrage can be read here (Daily Telegraph article 25 Aug 2012) http://tinyurl.com/a49kfhx

    |   -2

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