UK shadow chancellor reaffirms Labour government’s support to Mersey tidal project

A Labour government in the UK would use its proposed state investment bank to fund the Mersey tidal project, the UK Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell stated, according to the Financial Times, which writes that the shadow chancellor also called on the current UK government to support the Swansea tidal lagoon project. 

McDonnell’s statement comes as a confirmation of the public commitment he voiced in January, after being presented the plans for the Mersey tidal project, championed by Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram. “Listening to Steve’s exciting plans to harness the power of the River Mersey to drive sustainable growth for city region it is clear that this is exactly the type of project that the National Investment Bank should be supporting,” John McDonnell said in January.

At the beginning of February, the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority adopted Rotheram’s proposal to support the project with a share of the Budget for 2018-2019.

Peel Energy and The Northwest Development Agency (NWDA) conducted a feasibility study for a tidal power scheme in the Mersey Estuary back in 2011, identifying a barrage across the river between New Ferry in Wirral and Dingle in Liverpool as a preferred solution. However, the plans were abandoned due to high construction costs at the time.

In November 2017, Steve Rotheram reinstated the plans to develop a tidal energy project in the River Mersey, and appointed the former UK Chair of Ørsted, Brent Cheshire as Chair of the Mersey Tidal Commission for a one-year period to spearhead the plans.

The precise technology that will be used for the project is still unknown, but the Commission had said the technical solution would form a key part of the business case for the project. The production of an outline business case is expected to be completed by March 2019.