Letter Of The Week - Careful thought for river barrage

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

I HAVE read with interest the recent comments about the location of a barrage across the River Wyre.

From the perspective of the town’s regeneration, the best option would be for it to be sited at the Knott End ferry jetty.

However, it would mean that Fleetwood could not be a port for vessels larger than pleasure craft.

There would also be the added risk to vessels entering the narrow opening in rough seas.

The river bed will have to be dredged to about 15 metres below its present level because of the dirft of sand from the ferry beach into the river.

If the barrage is located at the northern position shown in the 1991 feasibility study it would be a challenge to prevent the turbines silting up.

At the position of the Knott End ferry it would be an even bigger problem.

If the Halite Energy gas storage proposals are approved there is an argument that the barrage should not be built.

Whichever position is selected for the tidal power plant there will be a potential threat to the barrage from gas leaking into the river.

A small amount of gas escaping into the river could be drawn into the barrage by the air extraction system creating an explosive mixture deep within the plant.

Even if the gas storage caverns are pressure tested this will not ensure that they remain in safe working order.

After carrying out appropriate tests the worst case scenario has occurred in other parts of the world.

An earthquake of the magnitude of the 1843 event could reactivate the existing faults causing a major leak and resulting in a man made disaster affecting more than 100,000 people.

Only after careful consideration of all the options will it be possible to form an opinion of the best way forward for a Fleetwood Tidal Power Plant.

Edward Greenwood, Fleetwood