Wildlife pledge clears way for Cardiff Bay barrage

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WORK ON a pounds 90m barrage across Cardiff Bay is expected to start shortly after pledges yesterday to protect the habitat of thousands of wading birds in the Severn Estuary.

Cardiff Bay Development Corporation said contractors could be on site 'within the next few days' after a compromise in Strasbourg between the Government and Europe.

Earlier this month, the Welsh Office was forced by European officials to delay construction because of objections from environmentalists that the project would destroy wildlife sites. But new measures to set up more alternative habitats for birds are likely to be accepted, Wayne David, MEP for South Wales, said. A corporation spokesman said: 'We are awaiting official confirmation from the Welsh Office that work can get under way.'

Supporters of the scheme claim the barrage is vital to attract pounds 1bn in private-sector investment, creating 23,000 permanent jobs.