Historic England to examine impacts of tidal lagoons

Public body in charge of England’s historic environment Historic England has hired Cooper Marine Advisors to conduct a research into the implications of an anticipated strategic program of tidal lagoon developments in the UK on the English waters.

The project will be carried out by Cooper Marine Advisors as the lead contractor, together with Fjordr as a subcontractor.

The aim of the research project, named ‘Tidal Range Developments: Considerations for the marine historic environment’, is to better equip Historic England to engage with project developers and with relevant government departments and their agencies to ensure that the interests of the marine historic environment are addressed appropriately.

Bill Cooper of Cooper Marine Advisors, who is leading this research, said: “The project is in the initial phase of assembling a view of known and potential developer activity to identify sites which may have a bearing on heritage assets in English Waters. We would be pleased to hear from any developer wishing to offer us relevant information about their plans.”

The move follows the results of the review into the viability of tidal lagoon industry in the UK, conducted by Charles Hendry, who was supportive of the strategic case for a tidal lagoon program to deliver a cost-effective part of the UK’s energy mix.

“The UK government is expected to offer a response soon to the Hendry Review of tidal lagoons. If this case is accepted by UK government, then the likelihood is the spawning of a new industry, led by the pathfinder Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon scheme.

“An extensive program of tidal lagoon development is also likely to require an equally extensive program of habitat compensation sites. Necessarily, these sites – which will also have implications for heritage assets – may need to be located well away from the effects of tidal lagoons, potentially in estuaries on the east coast of England,” Historic England said in a statement.

Historic England said the majority of sites considered suitable for a tidal lagoon fall within the Severn Estuary/Bristol Channel and the Irish Sea by virtue of areas with highest tidal range.

On this basis, such schemes are likely to directly influence the marine environment on the south-west and north-west coasts of England, primarily, and potentially over extensive areas through far-field effects on the tide, affecting more remote designated intertidal areas, added Historic England.