Business case for £10bn Morecambe Bay tidal barrage to be presented to government

Tidal power gateway
Tidal power gateway

A business case for a £10bn Morecambe Bay tidal power project will be presented to the government after the general election on December 12.

Northern Tidal Power Gateways wants to build a 14km tidal barrage and road link between Heysham and the Furness peninsular.

Alan Torevell, chair of the Northern Tidal Power Gateways board (right)  with Prof George Aggidis at Lancaster University.

Alan Torevell, chair of the Northern Tidal Power Gateways board (right) with Prof George Aggidis at Lancaster University.

The company, which has released new details on the construction of the barrage, says it would produce “predictable emission free electricity” for two million homes.

But a new report from the Green Party - The Green New Deal in the North West - says that barrages cause serious damage to local ecosystems and we “cannot tackle the climate emergency at the expense of biodiversity”.

It says offshore and onshore wind, solar, and hydrogen power can help us to reach zero carbon emmissions.

Under the proposals, the Bay breakwater would be 14km in length and another barrage in the Duddon Estuary would be 5.5km. Each breakwater would contain powerhouses with turbines and sluice gates, navigation locks - to enable boats to pass through - and “suitable fish passes”.

Barrages would trap tidal flows - which reach up to 10m in the bay - and then release them through turbines to produce clean electricity.

The company says it would make huge transport savings – with an estimated nine million annual crossings - reducing distance by 50 per cent and journey time by 75 per cent, with fuel savings of 750,000 litres annually.

It would create “up to 7,000 jobs during the construction phase and net 6,000 additional jobs, plus opportunities across the region for the supply chain”.

Engineers and students attending an event held at Lancaster University Management School last week heard more about the plans for the barrage. The guest lecturer at the event organised by Lancashire’s IMechE Fluid Machinery Group was Alan Torevell, chair of the Northern Tidal Power Gateways board.

He was introduced by Professor George Aggidis, a world-leading expert in turbine technology, a Fellow of the IMechE and board member of the Fluid Machinery Group. Mr Torevell explained how the project has the potential to “drive transformational change across the region and have a fundamental impact on the economic life of Cumbria and Lancashire”.

He said: “It will create a new turbine manufacturing industry bringing thousands of new jobs to the North West to deliver the Morecambe Bay and Duddon projects, and other tidal power locations on the UK’s west coast. The tidal power project will also bring huge socio-economic benefits to the North West by significantly reducing travel times and distances between Lancashire and south and west Cumbria.

“The project has the backing of MPs in Cumbria and north Lancashire, and is supported by local authorities around Morecambe Bay and on Cumbria’s west coast.”