Mersey Tidal barrage

‘World’s largest tidal scheme’ takes next step toward realization

Liverpool City Region’s Mayor has presented the UK’s “first of a kind” barrage scheme between Wirral and Liverpool for the city region’s flagship Mersey Tidal Power project.

Source: Liverpool City Region Combined Authority

Said to have the potential to become the “world’s largest” tidal scheme, the Mersey Tidal Power project would potentially create thousands of local jobs, bringing economic and resilience benefits to the Liverpool City Region, in an asset that could operate for more than 120 years.

According to the Liverpool City Mayor, the project could manage environmental issues that are associated with climate change. However, to complete the development stage, the scheme would need government backing.

“Mersey Tidal Power has the potential to generate clean, predictable energy for 120 years, create thousands of green jobs and apprenticeships – and all but seal our area’s status as Britain’s Renewable Energy Coast,” said Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region.

“Beyond the banks of the River Mersey, this is a national infrastructure asset that could position the UK as a global leader in the renewables race and help to turbocharge our net zero ambitions.”

The announcement to pursue a barrage between the Wirral and Liverpool as the preferred option for the Mersey Tidal Power project coincides with the multi-billion pound scheme advancing into the formal planning consent phase.

This decision could create a cycling and pedestrian route over the river, connecting Liverpool and Wirral for the first time. Additionally, it may serve as a defense against future flooding risks linked to climate change.

The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority will seek approval at its March meeting to submit a scoping opinion to the Planning Inspectorate later this year for what could become the world’s largest tidal power scheme. 

Over the past three years, the authority has conducted preliminary technical work to develop the potential scope of the scheme, aiming for it to be operational within a decade. This initiative aligns with the region’s goal to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2040.

“Existing strengths in wind and solar power and emerging strengths in hydrogen mean that our city region is already leading the way in developing a cleaner and greener economy.  Harnessing the power of the River Mersey to generate green and predictable energy for the next 100 years and more would be an incredible addition to our clean energy mix,” said Councillor David Baines.

“We need to ensure we are extremely aware of our sensitive local ecology but just reaching this stage in the Mersey Tidal Power project has taken a huge amount of hard work allied with vision and would be a big step towards it becoming a reality.”

If agreed upon, the Combined Authority would conduct a period of engagement with stakeholders, both regionally and nationally, before submitting the scoping opinion. 

Following the scoping opinion, formal consultations would be held across communities and stakeholder groups. The scoping opinion would focus on the construction of a barrage across the river.

The report presented to the Combined Authority highlights that opting for a barrage would lower costs compared to a lagoon, necessitating less material and reduced government support.  

Submitting a scoping opinion marks the initial phase in the preparation of a development control order (DCO) submission, a process that usually spans two to three years. 

The scoping opinion submission outlines the project and requests guidance from the Planning Inspector regarding the necessary scope and extent of surveys required to compile documents detailing the environmental impact of the scheme.

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