UWE Bristol teams up with Education Through Expeditions to study Severn Barrage and renewable energy

Issue date: 03 June 2014

UWE Bristol is working on a new project on the Severn Estuary and renewable energy with Education Through Expeditions (ETE). This project has been inspired by the debate over a possible Severn barrage and the issues and concerns around it.

The project will investigate tidal power as a renewable energy source and the impacts on the environment this could have, and share the learning with schools across the South West via a web platform, www.eteteachers.org.

The team will look into the estuary habitat, river and coastal processes and how all these would be affected by the proposed barrage. This on-going project will also investigate these topics through the eyes of different stakeholders such as the local community, Bristol Port and RSPB.

Last year, UWE Bristol hosted a conference on innovative and sustainable solutions to generate power from the Severn Estuary. The conference brought together engineers, economists, local government officials and conservationists and was organised by RSPB, Regen SW and The Bristol Port Company.

Tom Appleby, a senior lecturer in UWE Bristol's Faculty of the Environment and Technology said, “The estuary is well known for its potential to provide clean power, but experts at the conference believed that proposals to date have not balanced economic and environmental needs.

“That is why we are involving the next generation in working out how the potential of the Severn can be unlocked in a sustainable way.”

UWE Bristol's link with ETE dates from 2011 which now includes an office on Frenchay campus. As part of the link-up, UWE has sponsored 30 local schools to have access to the material generated by the students.

Since then, ETE has enabled UWE to connect data from fieldtrips to places as far afield as Tenerife, China and Indonesia to schools across the South West. In Tenerife, Conservation Biology and Environmental Science students investigated the problems of freshwater supply, desalination and renewable energy. In Indonesia, ETE Ambassador Charlotte Young connected local Indonesian schools with UK schools to compare daily lives, cultures and wildlife.

Dr John Lanham of UWE's Faculty of the Environment and Technology said, “Through this partnership UWE Bristol and ETE offer volunteering and personal development opportunities to our students, whilst also providing unique and innovative teaching resources for schools.”

ETE are also running ETE Leadership Awards for students on all courses across UWE Bristol from Adult Nursing to Mathematics and Urban Planning.

UWE Bristol students and staff who are interested in exploring potential opportunities to work with ETE should contact Gemma Sollis on 0117 32 87071 or by emailing gemmasollis@eteteachers.org

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