A North Devon businessman has applied to the Government to build a tidal barrage across the Taw-Torridge estuary, which he claims would protect 1,400 properties against flooding and produce enough electricity to power 50,000 homes.Keith Apps, managing director of Power Limited, of Fullabrook Barton, West Down, has submitted his idea to Energy Secretary Malcolm Wickes.He has also applied for a patent on a barrage turbine, which he says would reduce the cost of such a scheme.The barrage would be constructed between Crow Point and the former refuse dump on Northam Burrows. - a distance of 1,200 metres.Mr Apps, a mechanical engineer and environmental systems analyst, says the scheme would cost \u00A3240 million to build and a channel would be cut for shipping."Its primary purpose would be to prevent catastrophic flooding in the future," he said. "Some 1,400 homes would be protected."But his Fluxion barrage system would also be capable of producing electricity by making use of both the incoming and outgoing tides, he said."A conventional turbine installed within a barrage is situated to follow the flow of the estuary and is a completely directional installation," he said."The Fluxion system is situated at a right angle to the flow and ebb of the estuary and it is this location that makes it unique to the normal installation."Because of the turbine position within the barrage structure, it has the capacity to increase its production levels by 95 per cent to that of the standard installation."Mr Apps said this meant that the turbine would be able to make electricity for eight hours in every 24 hours 50 minutes - "enough to power 50,000 homes or a few more."n People who live along the North Devon and Somerset coast between Hartland Point and Weston-super-Mare are to be consulted on ways to manage flooding and erosion risk.The consultation is being run by the Environment Agency on behalf of the North Devon and Somerset Coastal Authorities Group.PressureDevon county councillor Humphrey Temperley, the group chairman, said: "If we do nothing, flood risk along the coastline is only going to get worse."By looking at flood and coastal erosion risk now, we can put a plan in place which will both manage the risk and help protect more homes for the future."The coastline is going to come under increasing pressure from sea level rise and increased storms due to climate change."We need to plan now for changes in the future. It is important that local people take part in the consultation. This is their chance to have their say."For more information and to register to take part, people can visit the following website:www.ndascag.org.