Britain's longest bridge 'threatens wildlife' - Environment - The Independent

Britain's longest bridge 'threatens wildlife'

A A A

Plans for Britain's longest bridge across a 12-mile wildlife haven in Morecambe Bay were unveiled yesterday, prompting criticism from conservationists.

Plans for Britain's longest bridge across a 12-mile wildlife haven in Morecambe Bay were unveiled yesterday, prompting criticism from conservationists.

The bridge, linking Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria with Heysham in Lancashire, would be much longer than the current record-holder, the Humber Bridge, which has a 1,542-yard main span. It would deliver some of the southern Lake District's healthy tourist trade to the old ship-building town of Barrow and slash journey times across the region.

Incorporating sophisticated sub-sea technology to harness tidal energy in the estuary's fast-flowing waters, the structure would also be the world's first "green bridge" according to David Brockbank, the local businessman behind the plan. But his designers must overcome environmental hurdles if they are to get it built. As Mr Brockbank and his financial backers outlined the plan's benefits at a public meeting yesterday, English Nature was warning that interference with the bay's tidal flows could affect wildlife habitats at one of Britain's most precious wetland sites. Mr Brockbank is the latest in an illustrious line of engineers and entrepreneurs to have been attracted by the challenge of creating a structure to link south-west Cumbria with Lancashire. The Victorian engineer George Stephenson toyed with the idea of building an Ulverston to Lancaster railway but eventually left it to others. Plans to build a barrage across Morecambe Bay surfaced 20 years ago - but were dropped on environmental grounds.

Mr Brockbank, a former chairman of the Lake District National Park Authority's development control committee, stumbled on the idea when considering how to expand his small hydro-electric power generation business, near Kendal. His plan is to build the bridge on a series of underwater stansions that incorporate Canadian-designed vertical axis turbines to harness the tides.

"We didn't set off to to build a bridge here," he said yesterday. "We want to put in tide turbines [to harness] the flow of the water going in and out of the bay [but not] restrict the water in any way." His Bridge across the Bay company includes Bill Davies, a director of Lancaster University's environment centre, and has British, Dutch and Australian investors. It is also supported by Cumbria Tourist Board on the grounds that it would bring more visitors to the southern part of the Lake District.

The proposals, which were recently backed by Cumbria county council, form part of an energy renewal strategy in North-west England, which has rich potential for wind and tidal power in the Irish Sea. A total of £1bn has been invested in renewable energy projects.

Though the bridge's capital costs are likely to be formidable, the tide turbines could generate half the power of a medium-sized power station and would make the project commercially viable, according to Mr Brockbank. The North West Development Agency has been approached for funding for further feasibility studies.

The project is pitching two old environmental adversaries against each other: the renewable energy lobby and conservationists. Morecambe Bay is second only to the Wash for its birdlife and its coastal lagoons and saltmarshes are among the most protected sites in Europe. "The bay is dynamic and reducing the amount of tidal energy [potentially] affects all the habitats and the wildlife they support," said Chris Lumb of English Nature yesterday.

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
Arts and Entertainment
Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel are bringing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the London Coliseum
theatre

Returning to the stage after 20 years makes actress feel 'nauseous'

News
peopleThe Times of India said actress should treat it as a 'compliment'
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
property
News
The programme sees four specialists creating what they believe are three perfect couples, based on scientific matchmaking. The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle together
tvUK wedding show jilted
Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Student
The Guildhall School of Music and Drama is to offer a BA degree in Performance and Creative Enterprise
student

Top conservatoire offers ‘groundbreaking’ arts degree

Sport
Mikel Arteta pictured during Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal
champions league
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SEN Teaching Assistant Runcorn

£50 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: SEN Teaching Assistant EBD , Septemb...

SEN Teaching Assistant Runcorn

£50 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: SEN Teaching Assistant EBD , Septemb...

Recruitment Consultant - Soho - IT, Pharma, Public Sector

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35,000 first year: SThree: The SThree group i...

IT Systems Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week