The Ecologist

Vol. 10 No. 5 - June 1980 Ecologist Magazine
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The Ecologist June 1980: Tidal barrages: boon or blight?

Gordon Rattray Taylor

June 1980

Thirty years ago this month, Gordon Rattray Taylor wrote ‘Tidal barrages: boon or blight?’, looking at the feasibility of tidal power in the UK; something that is still being discussed today

As climate change moves up the Government’s agenda the quest for renewable energy for the UK continues, with many advocating the use of tidal power due the prevalence of suitable coastline around the UK.

With the second largest tidal range in the world, many believe that a barrage across the Severn estuary could be a significant source of clean energy. Still a highly contentious issue, many of the issues explored by Gordon Rattray Taylor in the June 1980 edition of the Ecologist are no closer to resolution today, even as the Government edges closer towards making a decision later this year:

‘The concept is one of some interest to the ecologically-minded, for on the one hand, tidal power is a renewable, non–polluting source of energy and so, in principle, to be preferred to nuclear power or even fossil fuel; on the other, the vastness of such schemes means that considerable ecological and physical disturbance must be caused – especially during the construction period which could last as long as twenty years. It may therefore be of interest to make the essential facts more widely known...’

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