Tidal Lagoons

Climate change is one of the greatest environmental challenges facing the wildlife and fisheries of the rivers of Wales. A move to low carbon energy is needed and we support a move to renewable energy. Generating electricity from river flow and tidal power could make a contribution to a clean energy future. Yet, energy generation must consider the localised impact on the environment. We advocate strategies which will reduce current energy consumption, develop new technologies for energy and improve energy efficiency. It is clear that a number of political parties in Wales have manifestos which include the consideration of tidal lagoons.

We must ensure that any consideration for the development of tidal lagoon energy recognizes the importance of the environment in which they may be delivered. There has been recent consideration of tidal lagoons at Swansea Bay, the Severn Estuary and Cardiff Bay. There is currently a proposal under consideration for the River Dee. All of these sites are internationally important areas, designated for European-protected habitats and species. To date, no scheme put forward has been able to resolve the irreplaceable damage to the fish, birds and habitat associated with current barrage technology.

Our focus of concern would be:
• The potential disruption to flows which may result in a change in naturalized flow patterns in the rivers flowing into a lagoon development and any subsequent impacts that those changed flow patterns have to migratory fish
• The unresolved direct impact of turbine technology to fish species, for example, through noise, vibration, flow patterns and through direct damage through the turbine (blunt trauma)

We would advocate that any development must not compromise the requirements under the Habitats Regulations and the European Marine Strategy Framework. Afonydd Cymru actively supports research which would help address these concerns and gaps in knowledge. We will consider each new proposal but will only be supportive if schemes can demonstrate a resolution to our concerns outlined above.