05 December 2010
Hilary Ash, an environmental expert from Cheshire Wildlife Trust who
helped to set up and fund New Ferry Butterfly Park has voiced some words
of caution about the proposed new barrage project which could
potentially be built at New Ferry.
the major international development company who built Manchester's
Trafford Centre, and are owners of Liverpool John Lennon Airport and the
Liverpool and Birkenhead docks system (where they are proposing the
£10bn dual developments of
Liverpool Waters and
Wirral Waters) are now proposing to build a
£2bn - £3bn barrage across the Mersey, to use the tidal flow of the
river to generate electricity.
barrage proposal has been discussed for well over a year already. When
the discussions started, 4 possible sites for the barrage were being
proposed. However, now - in late 2010 - just one area is currently
being looked at: somewhere between New Ferry and Eastham Country Park.
Peel have chosen this area because the width of the river and tidal
speed are just right to be able to generate the most cost effective
amount of electricity.
barrage was proposed to be built off Shorefields over 20 years ago.
At that time, in the late 1980s, there were also proposals to build a
"road deck" over the barrage. Residents from Rock Park to
Bromborough were appalled at the plans and fought a co-ordinated
campaign to fight against the scheme which was eventually dropped on the
grounds of costs. Some years after this proposal, New Ferry's
beach was designated as a "Site
of Special Scientific Interest" giving it special recognition
as a site of ecological importance.
for her comments about the proposals, Doctor Hilary Ash from Cheshire
Wildlife Trust said:
quandary we find ourselves in is that global climate change is THE
biggest threat to wildlife (and people), but renewable energy
schemes in the wrong place can be badly damaging and have to be
fought. So a full barrage, with severe effects on the whole of the
Mersey Estuary RAMSAR site upstream, will be all systems go to fight
- strengthened by the decision to stop proposals for the Severn
because it is just so expensive and damaging to build a barrage.
"As far as the local situation goes, obviously any barrage/tidal
fence at New Ferry would change the landscape drastically. It might
bring some new jobs - or might not. The effects on the beach would
have to be assessed by the ecological team - a major task - but with
bird numbers on the Mersey itself likely to be decimated, there
would obviously be impacts on New Ferry beach. There would be
changes to siltation rate - that needs expert modelling but could go
either way, so we could have rapid siltation to saltmarsh, or
haven't yet received any papers from Peel outlining the conservation
case as its still early days and until Peel officially announce the
details of their preferred short list the potential impacts of each
type of scheme are not known"
Hilary thinks the proposals need some careful thought about what damage
could be done to the environment, others think that using tidal power
schemes such as this might be a better answer to generating cleaner
electricity. Some people are suggesting that the project could be
a good thing for New Ferry IF it came here: there could be more jobs
generated for the area, house values might be improved, and it would
also draw visitors coming to the river to view the barrage - it
therefore could potentially become a tourist attraction. So there
are pluses and minuses as far as this project is concerned.
holding a series of public exhibitions - the next nearest to us will be at:
Bromborough Library and Civic Centre
urge everyone to attend this exhibition to see exactly what is being
proposed and for residents to make up their own minds whether to support
the proposals or not.
You can find
out more about the proposals and dates/venues for the public exhibitions on the
Mersey Tidal Power website.
representative of the New Ferry community, NFRAG (New Ferry Regeneration
Action Group) is interested to know what YOU think about the proposals
and what you would like us to say on your behalf at meetings which will
inevitably be held next year. We have set up a separate guestbook
for you to tell us your comments about the proposals.