‘Mixed feelings’ about tidal power proposal

There are mixed feelings over major plans for a potential Mersey Barrage that could connect Liverpool and Wirral.

A Liverpool City Region Combined Authority report seen by the LDRS, outlines various plans for a potential tidal barrage project that could be built across the Mersey, a long-term vision that is considered crucial to reducing carbon emissions across Merseyside.

If it goes ahead, the multi-billion project is expected to power one million homes and create thousands of jobs.

The combined authority hopes to have the project delivered by 2040 to operate for 120 years although this will require substantial government backing. It will generate power using the tides to move turbines to create electricity.

Since the LDRS published the findings of the report, some people have raised concerns about the potential costs of any tidal project, whether or not there would be a charge to cross any barrage, and others questioned the point of the scheme with the Birkenhead and Wallasey tunnels under the river.

Reacting to the news, Frank Egleton said, “I would love to think we live in a country where schemes like this are deliverable but all my adult experience tells me otherwise.”

Robert Doyle said, “They couldn’t even build a railway. Zero chance they will be able to build this”

One CGI (above)in the report shows people walking and cycling across the barrage between Liverpool and Wirral, but it is understood no decisions have been made about the project’s design.

Martin Travis said this section of the river made sense as it’s the narrowest section, adding, “Personally, I have mixed feelings about this, relating to environmental benefits v environmental cost, but if it were feasible, it would be great to have a walking and cycling route across the river.”

A motion by Wirral Council’s Liberal Democrat leader Phil Gilchrist if voted through will ask for more details on the scheme and its impact on the river.

Cllr Gilchrist said, “I do give it a guarded welcome but there is a lot of work to do before it gets off the drawing board. On the face of it there is hardly anything for the public to get their hands on to study properly. With something on this scale, this has to be sorted out.”

He added, “Certainly there is a vision . We do need to know if there are any drawbacks. These might involve silting up, channels for shipping and impacts on wildlife.”

Steve Simcox said, “Even if there was sufficient ground to site it on both sides of the river, the tidal flow and heights are such that any form of barrage would see the river silted up like the Dee within years.”

In the report, Liverpool City Region Mayor Steve Rotheram also said, “For as long as I can remember there has been talk of building a tidal barrage on the River Mersey and, thanks to devolution, we’re working to make it a reality. I want to harness the potential of our great river, which has been the lifeblood of our region’s fortunes throughout its past to power our future.”

A Combined Authority spokesperson said, “Mersey Tidal Power has the potential to provide enough clean, predictable and renewable energy to power up to one million homes for 120 years and create thousands of local jobs, apprenticeships and training opportunities in construction, science, research and development.

“Once operational, it could make the Liverpool City Region a worldwide centre of excellence in a key industry of the future and secure the UK’s reputation as a global leader in green energy.

“With an abundance of existing natural strengths and assets in wind, hydrogen and solar energy, this scheme forms a key part of Mayor Steve Rotheram’s ambitions to position the Liverpool City Region as Britain’s renewable energy coast.

“As such, the Mayor has tasked the combined authority with assessing the technical, environmental, ecological and cost implications of delivering the project, which resulted in the Liverpool City Region signing an agreement with South Korea’s state water company K-water. K-water operates the world’s largest tidal power scheme and has agreed to co-operate and share lessons to help our region develop Mersey Tidal Power.

“A project of this scale takes time to plan and exploration work to determine the operating model is still ongoing. However, Mayor Rotheram has been clear throughout that, in order for Mersey Tidal Power to become a reality, the Liverpool City Region is reliant on the government to match our ambitions for the project with the appropriate level of funding support.”

Lead image: LCRCA

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