The latest details of ground-breaking plans for a tidal power gateway and road link across Morecambe Bay and the Duddon Estuary were revealed to companies and organisations from Cumbria and Lancashire at a Business Forum in Kendal Town Hall on Friday – June 7th.
The planned £ multibillion project will create a 14km gateway and highway across Morecambe Bay between Heysham in and Furness, and a 5.5km crossing for the Duddon Estuary to improve road access to Cumbria’s West Coast.
More than 130 tidal turbines will generate predictable renewable energy sufficient to power up to 2 million homes – equivalent to a nuclear power station – and establish a new industry in the North West creating thousands of new jobs.
The project is being driven by the Northern Tidal Power Gateways board headed by Chief Executive Alan Torevell who wanted to give business people in Cumbria and Lancashire the latest facts about this exciting initiative. He outlined the next steps designed to gain Government funding for more detailed studies on the feasibility of the project through a Strategic Outline Business Case structured to comply with Treasury guidelines.
He explains: “This project has been underway for more than 4 years and around £1 million has been dedicated to making it happen, in hard cash and resources. We are now at a stage where we want to talk directly to local businesses about the opportunities it will create for economic growth and prosperity in the North West, and harness their enthusiasm and influence to ensure the project continues to move forward.
“The North West had played a world-leading role in the nuclear sector and we now have the opportunity to launch a new era of leading the world on tidal power, while at the same time creating making a major improvement to the infrastructure and economic well-being of Cumbria and Lancashire.”
Rob Johnston, Cumbria Chamber of Commerce CEO voiced his support and a panel of speakers gave further details of the project. They included Dr Angus Garbutt from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and the Natural Environment Research Council who explained how environmental concerns would be comprehensively addressed by the project, Professor Roger Falconer, from Cardiff University who examined the advantages of tidal range power generation, independent consultant in transport and project development Chas King who detailed how the project would move forward, and Finance Director Robert Barker who drew together all the various elements for a final summing up.
Almost 100 people attended the business forum including representatives from Lancaster City Council, Copeland Borough Council, Lancashire and Cumbria County Councils, and South Lakeland District Council. Barrow MP John Woodcock attended and told the meeting that he was very keen to learn more about the project and its impact on South Cumbria. There was also a contingent from Morecambe Bay’s fishing industry, and local wildlife and environmental groups.