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It's a dynamic site, last update 13 July 2015

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Make or break week for Swansea Bay tidal lagoon as developers wait to hear if Energy Secretary will give consent...

swan lagoon

15:04, 8 JUNE 2015
If the Energy Secretary approves Swansea Bay tidal lagoon it could mark the start of a global industry

This week the long wait to hear if the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon will get the go ahead comes to an end. Energy Secretary Amber Rudd has until Wednesday to tell the world whether she has decided to accept the Planning Inspectorate's advice that the groundbreaking project should proceed.

You could be forgiven for thinking that the lagoon already had the Government's seal of approval, given the warm terms in which it has been spoken of by both the Prime Minister and Chancellor in recent months.

Chinese engineering firm named as preferred bidder for Swansea Bay lagoon construction

Last week in Prime Minister's Questions David Cameron hailed the news that a Chinese investment firm has been picked as preferred bidder for the lagoon wall construction, and in his Budget speech in March George Osborne confirmed that the Government was entering formal negotiations with Tidal Lagoon Power about the funding arrangements for the project.

Budget 2015: Swansea Bay tidal lagoon became much more likely today...

However, it rests with the Energy Secretary to give consent to the project and that's why Ms Rudd's decision this week is so important. It's the first of three crucial steps the project must go through before work can begin.

The others are the agreement on a contract for difference - which could provide the project's investors with a guaranteed price for the electricity of up to £168 per megawatt hour for as long as 35 years - and the award of a marine licence from the Welsh Government.

Proposed £1bn Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon names Laing O' Rourke as preferred bidder to deliver turbine house and sluice...

There is potentially a huge amount riding on Ms Rudd's decision. Approval could fire the starting pistol for the development of five further, much bigger lagoons in the Severn, North Wales and north west England.

Proposed sites of tidal lagoons around Wales coast It could also be the beginning of a global export industry in tidal lagoon construction, with the Chinese investors having already said they hope to build similar lagoons in China and elsewhere in Asia.

Wales can be at the heart of a hugely lucrative global tidal lagoon industry...

Tidal lagoon near Newport could be as big as the Cardiff....

Made in Wales manufacturing pledge on proposed £1bn Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon project...

How much of that turns into jobs in Wales will remain to be seen. What's also uncertain is what might happen should Ms Rudd surprise everyone and decide not to approve the scheme. Will Tidal Lagoon Power turn its attention to getting one of the other lagoons approved? Or might it decide to seek easier waters in Asia?

So a lot rides on Ms Rudd's decision this week. After the false start of the Severn barrage it could finally mark the beginning of our harnessing the tremendous energy potential of the tides around our shores.

Not often seen... a photograph of a ship carrying full canvas, well heeled...



Custom-made part holds up tidal gate...


Thursday, 28 May 2015

HOPES that the tidal gate at Watchet Marina – out of action since last September – would be back in place next week have been dashed. 
Members of Watchet Boat Owners Association had been told that the repaired seven-ton structure, believed to have been damaged when something became trapped beneath it, would be reinstalled next Thursday. 
But yesterday (Thursday) Sam Westmacott, spokesman for the marina operator, confirmed the date had been put back by at least a month. 
She said that although repairs to the gate, which was floated out of position before Christmas, had been completed by Hunton Engineering in Kent, there was a delay on the replacement hydraulic ram operating system. 
She said it had been thought the ram was a standard piece of equipment and could be “bought off the shelf”. 
“But it was actually a one-off custom-made ram which is unique, and as we have no drawings or design details the company in Newcastle which has been given the job is literally having to copy each of the components from the original,” she said. 
“This is obviously taking far longer than everyone anticipated and is also putting up the price.” 
But Ms Westmacott said the work was expected to be completed by the end of June. 
“That is the date we are working towards for getting the gate back in and then installing the ram,” she said. 
“Obviously this is incredibly frustrating for our berth holders, who have been amazingly patient throughout this long process.” 
The cost of the repairs has so far topped £100,000, much of which has been covered by insurance, but Ms Westmacott said the marina operator had paid for some additional improvements to the gate in a bid to reduce the level of mud. 
And she said insurance cover had also paid for a 25 per cent reduction in berthing fees for berth holders this year. 
“We are particularly pleased to have been able to do this because things have been so difficult for boat owners. 
“These problems have had a huge impact on the number and type of boats that can use the marina so we are obviously very keen to get the situation back to normal as soon as possible.”

All content © of West Somerset Free Press unless stated otherwise.

Red Plaque

UWC Atlantic college is pleased to announce that we will be awarded the prestigious Engineering Heritage Award from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) for the design of the RIB, the building, testing, refining by the staff and students of the college, the gift of the patent to the RNLI for the humanitarian saving of lives and the global contribution to rescue, recreational and commercial marine activity. 

A key element is the restoration, exhibition and use of the original RIB ‘Naomi’, and the implementation of the Tsunami Rescue Boat Project that we are currently involved in.

Previous winners have been Tower Bridge – London, The Channel Tunnel, The Bessemer Converter, The Bletchley Park Bombe, The Jaguar E Type, Concorde among other amazing pieces.

A red plaque will be awarded that will be displayed at the seafront on the boathouse, next to Naomi, and the formal presentation of the award by the Institution will take place in coming months.  We are grateful to the Institution for this award and know that this is tremendous recognition to all who have worked on the boats over the last 53 years. 

Work Starts on the mole...


A good number of potential users and committee members assembled at the end of the Mole No 1 Dock Barry to witness the “Cutting of the first Sod” for the Slipway to be built to permit sailing, rowing and canoeing on the dock waters.


I was there last week... The inner harbour pontoon is in place... Work continues on the new slip which exits through the S.W. Corner of the inner harbour, where the boatyard used to be, right up against the cliff and will be usable at all states of the tide, so I was told, although I'm personally skeptical as it's a goodly distance on low water springs... The dry stack system is in place... There were twelve concrete filled tractor tyres with chain attached on the inner harbour slip awaiting deployment, I presume for the off-shore pontoons... Work continues on the decking over the sluicing pond... Tony 

Oceanographer Dr Rob Kirby argues that high silt levels in the Severn Estuary reduce the viability of proposed large tidal lagoons for power generation...


Engineering projects intimately linked to the high sediment load in the Severn, already at a low point, have plummeted even further with recent announcements of plans for large tidal lagoons in Bridgwater Bay and in Cardiff Bay, extending towards Newport.

An illustration showing how the kite-turbines would operate under the surface of sea water in Holyhead Deep, off the coast of noth Wales.

We have just been informed of the likely date for refitting the tidal gate to Watchet Harbour Marina.


The gate will be arriving on 3rd June with plans to fit it on the 4th. This will involve extensive operations on the East Pier adjacent to the gateway.

Please be advised that there will be no access to/from the marina on 4th June. This may be extended if any problems arise during the fitting process but we will endeavour to avoid this.

The entire pier will also be closed to persons not involved and approved for the process.

The gate will be fitted and then laid flat on the bottom for approx. 1-2 weeks whilst a new operating system is fitted. Please note this will include fitting a new hydraulic ram onto the wall which means there may be restrictions in place. The maintenance stop logs will remain in place until the gate is fully commissioned. Please contact the marina office for details of the obstruction.

Throughout the whole process we will only be operating minimal marina services as most of the staff will be involved to some extent. We will however still be undertaking our essential services to ensure the marina remains operational and safe.

We apologise for any inconvenience but am sure you will join us in hoping the process goes smoothly and that we soon have a functioning gate again.

If you have any problems please don’t hesitate to ask in the office.

Kind regards


James Burnell

Marina Manager

Watchet Harbour Marina

01984 631264

It has been said that the first rule of boating is, “Approach the dock at the speed at which you are prepared to hit it.”


Great rule! But, before we hit the dock, just how do we plan and maneuver to get there? Here are some tips that will make docking, if not a thing of beauty, at least not a memorable event.

Click headline to see more...


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