Morecambe Bay barrage has '˜potential'

An ambitious plan to build a dual carriageway across Morecambe Bay has been backed by a government-funded review into tidal energy.

Tuesday, 24th January 2017, 11:58 am
Updated Tuesday, 24th January 2017, 1:02 pm
Alan Torevell from North West Energy Squared (right) shows Juergen Maier from the North West Business Leadership team a map of the barrage.

The Hendry Report mentioned an £8.6bn tidal barrage gateway from Heysham to Cumbria as a project with “potential”.

North West Energy Squared, the company behind the scheme, says the project could create 10,000 jobs, generate green electricity for homes and reduce road journey times.

But David Morris, MP for Morecambe, says he’s been told tidal barrages across the bay are “not possible”.

The Hendry Report, published by former energy minister Charles Hendry, was commissioned to look at the merits of tidal lagoon technology.

It backed tidal lagoons as a viable and cost effective source of power and recommended the green light for a planned lagoon at Swansea.

A tidal lagoon is a power station that generates electricity from the tides, capturing water behind a man-made structure which drives turbines to generate electricity.

Lagoons differ from a tidal barrage because they are enclosed within an area of coastline. A barrage spans an entire river estuary in a straight line.

North West Energy Squared wants to build a road on a series of barrages across the bay. Mr Hendry described the plan as having “potential to innovate through potential cost reductions and construction methodologies used”.

Alan Torevell, chairman of North West Energy Squared, said: “This is good for us.

“Because of the Hendry Report, people are taking our project more seriously.

“We’re in the most exciting phase we’ve been in since I started with this four years ago.”

Mr Torevell said he was in talks with two companies about carrying out a feasibility study – the next stage of the project. Mr Morris said: “While on the face of it it seems like a great idea, there are all sorts of environmental constraints on the bay and I have been told on numerous occasions a barrage or lagoon is not possible. I look forward to meeting with North West Energy Squared again when they have completed their full environmental feasibility study in the next 12-18 months.”