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NCE Live News Updates Friday 7 February: Tidal lagoon planning bid

Tidal Lagoon Power hands over 5,000-page application for a development consent order for a power plant in Swansea Bay.

5.15pm: Additional flights will operate between Newquay and London as the government moves to minimise the disruption from the collapsed rail line at Dawlish.

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said operator Flybe would be doubling the number of flights between the Cornwall airport and Gatwick in Sussex to six per day.

There will also be replacement bus and coach services, as well as trains operating on local branch lines.

McLoughlin said: “The most immediate concern is to get the line at Dawlish back up and running as soon as possible.”

He added: “In the meantime, with replacement bus and coach services running, trains operating on local branch lines, and increased capacity in flights from Newquay, it’s important for the region’s economy that people understand the South-west is open for business.”


5pm: The Environment Agency has warned there is a risk of “further significant flooding” in the West Country this weekend.

Two severe flood warnings remain in place in the region, along with 25 flood warnings and 60 flood alerts.

Large waves and strong winds are threatening to cause more problems along the Devon and Dorset coasts on Saturday.

EA chairman Chris Smith said: “The last two months have seen the country face some extraordinary severe weather – the wettest January in nearly 250 years and the largest storm surge in 60 years.”

Smith visited the Somerset Levels today, where he faced criticism from farmers over the EA’s response to flooding there.  

“On the Somerset Levels I met with people who had experienced terrible weeks of flooding and was able to express my sincere sympathies,” Smith said.

“Flooding has a dreadful impact on people’s lives and my heart goes out to them.”


2pm: Royal Marines have been installing sandbags on the Somerset Levels to fight floods.

The government said about 40 Royal Marines from a Taunton-based unit delivered, filled and placed sandbags in the village of Athelney overnight.

They have also been using two Pinzgauer vehicles to help evacuate 140 properties in the village of Moorland.

A number of military planners are working with the relevant agencies in Somerset to discuss further assistance.

“We are happy to be here and happy to be helping. A number of us are from the Somerset region and we are pleased to assist a community which has always been so supportive of us,” said Lieutenant Brendan Ford.

Ben Mitchell, partner at engineering consultant Peter Brett Associates, last week told NCE that calling the Army to the Somerset Levels was “almost disgraceful”.


1pm: A water treatment plant in Surrey is under threat from flooding.

Sutton & East Surrey Water is battling to avoid having to shut downa water treatment facility in Kenley, which supplies water to more than 46,000 properties.

“It’s touch and go at the moment with each new downpour adding to the possibility of the site being overwhelmed with flood water,” said operations manager Richard Rap.

Sandbag and other defences have been placed around key operating buildings and plant, and pumps have been installed to remove water from the site.

Engineers are checking plans for supplying customers from other treatment works in case the site is overwhelmed.


10.45am: Bachy Soletanche has appointed Cliff Wren as major projects director.

Wren has previously worked for Balfour Beatty Ground Engineering and Roger Bullivant.

He will take charge of all of Bachy’s new big projects, business development and major bids in the UK.

Wren said: “Bachy Soletanche has a number of high profile and technically challenging projects in the pipeline and I’m looking forward to driving these projects forward and helping to grow the already substantial impact the Bachy Soletanche Group is having on the UK construction industry.”


10.30am: Chancellor George Osborne has visited the start of the £600M Northern Hub rail upgrade project.

The work will involve upgrading and electrified existing lines. It allow up to 700 extra trains to run each day from 2019.

Osborne said as work got underway at Manchester Airport station this morning: “The government’s long term plan is about securing a recovery for all parts of the country.

“Because of the tough decisions we’ve taken on day-to-day spending, we’re able to invest in key infrastructure projects like the Northern Hub, which will create billions for the region.”


9.45am: A planning application has been submitted for a tidal lagoon plant that could supply 120,000 UK homes with electricity.

Tidal Lagoon Power handed over a 5,000-page bid for a development consent order for the power plant in Swansea Bay.

It wants to build a 9.5km-long sea wall to capture energy from incoming and outgoing tides.

This is the first stage of a plan to have five tidal lagoons in UK waters by 2023, supplying a tenth of the UK’s domestic electricity.

Mark Shorrock, chief executive of Tidal Lagoon Power, said: “The UK has the second highest tidal range in the world and today we are submitting an application for a development that will prove that this resource can be harnessed in a way that makes economic, environmental and social sense.”

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