Friday 28 January 2011

Underground power cable route

There is a proposal to run part of an underground power cable from Wirral foreshore, down the length of the peninsula to Connah's Quay. To find out more about this and the public information events, please read the details below sent to us by SP Energy Networks.

I am writing to invite you to a public information event, which National Grid and SP Transmission are holding to outline proposals for the development of an underground cable route from the Wirral foreshore, to Connah's Quay, Deeside.

The plans form part of a larger scheme to connect new renewable energy sources in Scotland to the electricity grid in England and Wales through a high voltage subsea cable. To explain the proposed plan, answer your questions and listen to any concerns you may have we will be holding two drop-in public information events in your area.

Tuesday 8th February
Neston Community and Youth Centre, Burton Road, Neston, CH64 9RE
2 p.m. - 8 p.m.

Wednesday 9th February
Moreton Community Centre, Maryland Lane, Moreton, CH46 7TS
2 p.m. - 8 p.m.

Representatives from the National Grid and SP Transmission project team will be on hand to explain the programme and answer any questions you may have.

You can find more information about the project at:

If you have any questions about the events, please do not hesitate to contact our Community Relations team on: Freephone 0800 030 4137 or email

Claire Watson
Environmental Planner, SP Energy Networks
On behalf of SP Transmission and National Grid

Monday 24 January 2011

Help needed at Irby Quarry

Wirral Rangers are organizing another Irby Quarry task day on Sunday 30th January meeting at the Quarry 11.30am. Volunteers are welcome.

This is a continuation of scrub clearing both on the ground and on the rock face (provided we have sufficient climbers available).

All tools, gloves etc are provided. Hope to finish around 3.00pm -3.30pm.

If you have trouble finding the entrance to Irby Quarry check on our web site and search for Royden Park or ring here on 0151 677 7594.



Wirral Rangers

Friday 21 January 2011

Last chance to attend Mersey Barrage consulation

Peel Holdings have a final exhibition on the Wirral this Saturday, 22 Jan from 10am - 2pm at Eastham Country Park Visitors Centre.

Here is a copy of a letter from Janel Fone, CEO of Cheshire Wildlife Trust, and Charlotte Harris, the Director of Conservation:

Dear Cheshire Wildlife Trust member/supporter,

You may have read in the media recently about Peel Energy Ltd’s plans to construct a tidal energy structure in the Mersey estuary to generate renewable energy. Although Cheshire Wildlife Trust has urged Peel to consider less environmentally damaging technologies, their current shortlist of options focuses on the use of barrage systems. Tidal barrages are typically large dams incorporating turbines, that hold back or ‘impound’ a large volume of water, and then release it through the turbines to generate energy. In the case of a tidal barrage, it may be necessary to impound water within an estuary - in contrast to the natural tidal flow, reducing available areas of mud used by feeding birds.

The Trust is concerned about potential damage to the finely-balanced estuary ecosystem of the Mersey, through the use of a technology that is largely untested with regard to potential impacts on wildlife. Similar, small-scale projects elsewhere in the world have however, had damaging effects on estuary ecosystems, and environmental impacts were one of a number of concerns over the recent £30billion Severn barrage proposals shelved by the Government last year.

The Wildlife Trusts support the need to move towards ‘green energy’ to meet the Government’s ambitious, but necessary, targets for 15% of UK energy from renewable sources by 2020 – but striving to meet these targets should not be at a cost to the very wildlife and habitats we are seeking to safeguard from the effects of climate change.

There will be strong economic arguments put forward in support of the project, however we must fully understand the impacts of such a scheme in the long-term, both in terms of potential damage to an internationally-recognised wetland, and also aspects such as flood management. Can we justify such a high cost to a natural icon of the north-west, without knowing the consequences?

It is likely that any barrage scheme will affect the flow and dynamics of the estuary ecosystem, and Peel have recognised that the Mersey’s Special Protection Area (SPA) – a level of protection for birds at a European level, must be considered. We will not fully understand the potential damage to the estuary though until a full ecological assessment has been undertaken.

Peel Energy are hoping to have a preferred option by March 2011. They have said whichever option they choose, they will introduce measures to reduce the damage to the Mersey Estuary, but whatever they do, there may still be a significant reduction in the intertidal habitats, and the amount of time the remaining areas will be exposed for birds to feed on them.

Peel are asking for comments on their stage 2 report before 21 January 2011. The report can be found here

You can make your views known by commenting on their website or by email.

Peel Energy Ltd are also organising a series of community consultation events. If you can make any of these events, please do go along and ask them questions, such as:

1. Why have they discounted various options for technical and financial reasons, but have not discounted any for ecological reasons?

2. How will they assess the ecological impacts of each option?

3. Have they fully considered the impacts on flood risk as a similar barrage in the Netherlands seriously increased flood risk.

4. You could ask about the carbon budget, and if construction or carbon locked-up in estuarine sediments have been factored in.

5. Why they are not waiting for emerging technologies that may be able to harness energy without having a serious ecological impact? A technology known as SMEC (Spectral Mass Energy Converter) appears to have been dropped despite promising energy returns and reduced ecological impacts.

Dr. Janel Fone

Charlotte Harris

Monday 17 January 2011

New Ferry Butterfly Park Events

Sunday 13th March
9.30 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Removal of Portuguese Laurel and replacing with a holly hedge to benefit the Holly Blue Butterfly

10th April
9.30 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Spring clean up and preparation of the park for open day

Sunday 8th May
Open Day 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Sculpture trail,
artists displaying their creations, various stalls,
environmental games, guided walks and pond-dips, children's activities and a BBQ.

Sunday 31st July
9.30 a.m. - 4 p.m.
The start of the annual mowing season regime.
Come and have a go at scything - it is easier and gentler than you think. Lunch time BBQ - bring along a contribution to cook.

The Butterfly Park is open to visitors 12 - 4 p.m. every sunny Sunday from May 1st until September 4th.
Volunteer Wardens are present to give you some information and a guided tour if you would like one.

For further details, contact Paul Loughnane by email or telephone on 0151 645 8937.

RSPB Mersey Barrage Campaign

We recently had an email from Clare Reed of the RSPB and thought it would be useful to let more people read it.

"Let me first introduce myself, I am the RSPB’s new Marine Conservation Officer for the north west of England. I will be helping to ensure the continued conservation of our glorious coastline by speaking up for birds and wildlife from the Solway Firth down to North Wales. More specifically I will be helping to take our Mersey Barrage Campaign forward in order to keep the Estuary a magnificent place for birds and wildlife.

Peel Energy is hoping to announce its chosen option for barrage technology on the Mersey in March 2011, with a view to applying for planning permission in December 2011.Over the next few weeks the RSPB will be working hard to identify our response to this damaging proposal, and to allow us to put together a timeline and a programme of work for our Mersey Barrage Campaign. If Wirral Wildlife would like to get more involved with the campaign, either as a group or on an individual level, please let me know and will be happy to provide you with further information on becoming a campaigner. Campaigning can range anywhere from putting up posters, to writing to MPs, to inspiring the public about wildlife. I am also happy to come and give a short presentation at one of your meetings about the Mersey Barrage proposal and our Campaign if this is something that you may be interested in?

Look forward to speaking with you further, Clare Reed"

Contact details for anyone interesting in joining the Mersey Barrage Campaign are as follows:

Marine Conservation Officer (North West)
RSPB Northern England Region
7.3.1 Cameron House
White Cross Estate

Telephone: 07702 891480

Email Clare