Scrap sea wall bid, says barrage man

River Wyre Tidal Barrage artist's impression
River Wyre Tidal Barrage artist's impression

A GROUP advocating ambitious Wyre barrage proposals have called into question the £55m grant bid for Fleetwood’s sea wall.

The Free 2007 group believes Wyre Council’s plans to re-build the coastal defences at Rossall are flawed because they don’t take into account the projected rise in sea levels over the next 100 years.

Retired engineer Edward Greenwood has written to council officers, and copied-in a number of councillors, to raise his concerns.

He says the council should scrap the £55m bid and implement short-term repairs at a fraction of the cost, as the risk of flooding is much lower than the council says.

And in the long term, Mr Greenwood says Wyre should look at the barrage scheme.

Mr Greenwood believes a broad ranging barrage scheme, including a tidal power plant, would not only generate sustainable energy, but would help guard against flooding. The scheme would include creating a lagoon at the mouth of the River Wyre and using controlled tidal energy to create turbine-driven electricity.

But Wyre Council, which has drawn up designs for the Fleetwood sea wall and put in a Government bid, have dismissed the arguments.

A council spokeswoman said: “We want to assure people that sea level rise and the increased levels of storms – which are likely to be experienced due to global warming – have been taken account in the development of the Rossall sea wall scheme.

“We have used guidance from the Environment Agency, based on the latest climate change research, to influence the design of the proposed sea defences and are confident in the predictions for future sea level rise in Fleetwood.”

Wyre Council is looking to get the £55m from the Environment Agency and DEFRA to protect around 7,500 properties from the risk of coastal flooding in the future. The bid needs support from the local community and 1,500 people have signed pledges to back the bid.

Pledges of cash support are also needed, and Fleetwood Town Council has agreed to raise £100,000 over the next five years through a modest increase of the precept for council tax payers in Fleetwood – a maximum £2.53 on a Band D property.

But Mr Greenwood told the Weekly News: “There is damage to the apron of the sea wall, but that damage will not cause flooding in the near future. But the long term risk of flooding is another matter. I am calling on Wyre council to drop this bid, and look again at its coastal defence plans. I believe Wyre needs to look at the barrage scheme as one way of reducing the long-term risk of flooding.”

See this week’s Weekly News for the full story.