The Ecologist June 1980: Tidal barrages: boon or blight?

| 19th June 1980
Vol. 10 No. 5 - June 1980 Ecologist Magazine
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...’

To read the original article in our archive, click here


The Ecologist has a formidable reputation built on fifty years of investigative journalism and compelling commentary from writers across the world. Now, as we face the compound crises of climate breakdown, biodiversity collapse and social injustice, the need for rigorous, trusted and ethical journalism has never been greater. This is the moment to consolidate, connect and rise to meet the challenges of our changing world. The Ecologist is owned and published by the Resurgence Trust. Support The Resurgence Trust from as little as £1. Thank you. Donate here