At the Severn tidal estuary, sea water rises up the river during high tide. The proposed barrage would allow the high tide to flow in through the sluice gates of the barrage, when the tide is at its highest, gates would be closed, when the tide starts to fall the water would be released driving two hundred and fourteen 40 MW turbines. The project could generate as much as 17 billion kilowatt hours of electricity per year. This project could generate up to 5% of the UK’s energy needs (Black & Veatch, 2007).
A large part of the Severn estuary has been marked as a protected wetland. The estuary is the habitat of tens of thousands of birds and other aquatic wildlife. If the proposed barrage is built, 35,000 hectares of protected wetland would be inundated by water potentially endangering the wildlife that depends on it for survival (Turnpenny, 2001).
Great numbers of migratory fish including critically threatened or declining species such as Atlantic salmon, sea trout, shads and eels also pass through the Severn estuary. Fish passing through the hydroelectric turbines are likely to suffer injury or death (Turnpenny, 2001).
According to Kant’s categorical imperative, the ends do not justify the means, a person’s acts are morally correct if and only if it were correct for every other person to act in the same way, for the same reasons. Another aspect of the categorical imperative involves the treatment of human beings. Kantian morality is concerned mostly with the rights of humans, Kant considered non-human creatures to be mere ‘things’ which could be used and disposed of by humans at their will. Kant advocated kindness to animals, but only because he believed that those who are cruel to animals inevitably become cruel in their dealings with other humans as well (Gruen, 2010).
According to Kant, humans are intrinsically valuable and they must not be used as a merely a means to an end but