Friday, February 06, 2009

Unique ecology of the Severn Estuary

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John Tanner’s letter dismisses the impacts of building a huge barrage across the Severn as inconveniencing an unnaturally large bird population (‘Setting the record straight on the Severn barrage’, Open Lines, February 5). Bridgewater Tory MP Iain Liddle-Grainger implies a similar sentiment by saying ‘…build a barrage, to hell with the RSPB’ ( ‘Make your minds up’, Post, February 5). What an ill-informed and ill-considered response they give to this complex issue. They should have more respect for the natural world.

The Severn Estuary supports very important habitats. Its ecology is unique. Strong protection under international law exists for such environments and rightly so. Building a huge barrage from Weston-Super-Mare to Cardiff would have very significant impacts on the estuary, its wildlife and landscape. Implications for navigation and flooding are also serious.

Its not just green pressure groups that are expressing grave concerns about a huge barrage and calling for serious consideration of tidal lagoons, tidal stream turbines or a tidal reef. Government bodies like the Environment Agency and Natural England are worried too. They think that a barrage has many implications, including legal ones. They too feel there should be serious consideration of less damaging ways of tapping the Severn's tidal energy.

14 Feb Consultation Event: Redevelopment of Torpoint Road, Kingswear Road & the College Site on Marksbury Road

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I'm going to drop in to this consultation event (details from the organisers copied below), to represent the neighbourhood Transition group (Sustainable Knowle) I coordinate. I've had some contact with the organisers already and have forwarded to them some particular areas where I have questions: is there a relationship to the Area Green Space Plan process; can new green spaces be created and/or existing ones improved; is 'mixed development' possible; how green will building standards be; any 'special' features possible eg use of rainwater collected, or 'super-insulation'; affordable/social housing...

Consultation Event: Redevelopment of Torpoint Road, Kingswear Road & the College Site on Marksbury Road

Date: 14th February 2009Time: 11am-3pm (this is a walk-in event)

Location: City of Bristol College, Marksbury Road, Bedminster, Bristol BS3 5JL

Contact: Sean Griffiths, 02072516735,

Description: Meet the team to discuss proposals for the development of Kingswear Road, Torpoint Road and the College Site at Marksbury Road. Bristol City Council, Knightstone Housing Association and the Homes and Communities Agency have employed architects FAT to come up with ideas for the redevelopment of the site. There is potential to provide new homes and new community facilities. Before work starts on the design proposals we would like to hear your views on the area.