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Issue:- 10 February 2009

Tidal Barrages could spell disaster for the North West

AN official Dutch report – obtained by the RSPB – details the flood risk, as well as the devastating impacts for wildlife, fishing, tourism and shipping from the construction of a storm surge barrier across the Oosterschelde estuary in the 1980s.

The Oosterschelde is very similar to estuaries across the West coast of England from the Severn Estuary in the South West to the Solway Estuary on the Scottish border. These estuaries offer the potential to produce significant renewable energy by harnessing the power of the tides; in the North West there are proposals for tidal energy being developed on the Solway, Morecambe Bay, the Wyre and the Mersey.

Tidal barrages are only one option for capturing energy from the tide. New technologies provide us with a range of alternative options that could have a lower impact on the environment.

If those responsible for these schemes opt for tidal barrages as their preferred choice for producing energy, then the impacts on the North West could be devastating.

The Dutch report found that:-

o Increased erosion has led to the loss of mudflats along the estuary, leading to higher waves and water levels. Huge sums will have to be spent on strengthening coastal defences to protect lives and property.

o By 2050, the tidal flats of the Oosterschelde will have more than halved, falling from 11,000ha in 1986 to about 5,000ha in 2045 and 1,500ha by the end of the century. These tidal flats are the feeding grounds for internationally important numbers of birds.

o Salt marshes will disappear from all, but the most sheltered locations by 2050.

o Less intertidal habitat will mean less shellfish and fewer birds. Oystercatcher numbers will have crashed 80 per cent by 2045 with other species “awaiting the same fate”.

o Shipping channels will become shallower and harder to navigate.

o Shellfisheries will be hit because of loss of habitat for the cockles and mussels.

o Tourism will be hit by the loss of wildlife interest.

Peter Robertson, the RSPB’s conservation manager for Northern England said:- “This report makes grim reading. It is the closest we can get to proof that the creation of a barrage across an estuary would cause devastation. The Oosterschelde is very similar to estuaries in the North West in many ways and it is being damaged beyond repair. We must ensure that the same fate does not befall the estuaries of the North West. The Dutch built their barrier to prevent deadly storms from claiming lives. Ironically, it has now led to an increased risk of flooding behind the barrier, but it could be argued they had little choice at the time. In the North West, we do have a choice. Barrages would not be built to stop storm surges but to harness the tides and generate electricity. There are other, far less environmentally damaging ways to do that. We only have one opportunity to get this right on each estuary so we need to explore all potential solutions. We have long said the Government should invest in innovative schemes, which offer the potential to put the UK and UK engineering at the forefront of tidal power without the risk of floods, loss of wildlife and livelihoods.”

Official Opening Of RSPB Hesketh Out Marsh - Video
Official Opening of RSPB Hesketh Out Marsh
 - Text & Photos


THE new indoor skating rink is on the site of the old Formby Ice Skating Rink, which closed in the late 60’s. That had a popular four piece student band playing regular slots plus other entertainment. The new rink is not made of ice though; it is a synthetic/artificial plastic ice rink, making it ideal for children and adults alike to learn skating all year long. It is housed above the Spar Shop on the Junction of Piercefield Road and Green Lane, Freshfield, Formby; across the road from the well- know Grapes Pub. The venue, going by the name 'Bonkers', also offers a fantastic indoor children’s play centre for young children and, very soon, a cafe.

To find out more about the new rink, call 01704830 597...


CORONER'S Officers in Sefton are appealing for the next of kin of 73 year old David Stephenson who died at his home in Viola Street in Bootle on Thursday, 4 February 2010.

There are no suspicious circumstances surrounding Mr. Stephenson's death but the Coroner’s office are struggling to locate his family to inform them.  It is believed that at one time Mr. Stephenson may have been in the military. 

Anyone who has any information are asked to contact the Coroner's Office on:- 0151 777 3480.


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