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26May94 UK: MEETING TO BUST CARDIFF BAY BARRAGE DEADLOCK.

A top-level meeting has been fixed for the end of June to break the deadlock between European and British officials over the fate of the £93 million Cardiff Bay barrage.Joint-venture partners Balfour Beatty and Costain should have been on site last month, but they are still waiting for the nod.Bids were returned last September but the contract has not been formally awarded and a start is unlikely before July.The total project package is worth £150 million, and includes the diversion of 14 main sewers and other services, as well as groundwater protection measures.Costs include £5.7 million to develop new bird feeding grounds on two sites covering nearly 300 ha in a bid to overcome accusations that the Government has breached a European directive aimed at protecting bird life.The 1.1 km barrage would create a 200 ha freshwater lake and be the cornerstone of waterfront commercial, leisure and retail developments estimated by the Welsh Office to be worth £1.2 billion.The European Commission is worried about the impact of the development on strategic feeding grounds for migrating birds. The Severn Estuary is a designated Special Protection Area (SPA) but the Government excluded Cardiff Bay from the SPA.Next month's European meeting has three options: to agree that the scheme can proceed, block it, or defer a decision and delay it further. CONSTRUCTION NEWS