Venice tidal barrage sinks

Plans to protect the floating city of Venice by building 79 tidal barrages have been shelved after a negative opinion by the Italian Environment Ministry's environmental impact committee.

The massive ‘MOSE’ project, planned for over ten years, intended to build 79 moving barrages to cut off the Venice lagoon, and protect it from high tides. If started in 2000, the £1.5Bn project would provide 10,000 jobs and would not be completed until 2008.

In the last ten years the sea level has risen by over 80 cm, some 787 times, with over 100 floods in 1996. The last major flood was on 4 November 1998, when the sea reached 112cm above its normal level.

Despite the high costs involved, supporters of the project claim it is the only way to protect the lagoon, and say it would making considerable savings, by preventing economic losses and lost work hours due to flooding.

Green groups, were in opposition to the project, fearing it could turn the lagoon into a stagnant pond. They would rather see regular dredging of rivers and the raising of pavements.

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