Barrage back in spotlight

River Wyre Tidal Barrage artist's impression
River Wyre Tidal Barrage artist's impression

Fleetwood’s proposed tidal barrage scheme has been boosted after it was highlighted in Parliament.

MP Eric Ollerenshaw raised the subject of the scheme and called for it to be given “a level playing field” in the highly-competitive energy market.

The barrage scheme, being proposed by the organisation Wyre Energy, would see a the River Wyre estuary dammed by a concrete wall which would include a huge turbine creating sustainable electric energy.

It would also see the creation of a marine lagoon which would feature marine-based leisure activity such as sailing, and waterside shops, bars and cafes.

Former Fleetwood man Bob Long, managing director of Wyre Energy, estimates the completed barrage scheme could bring a massive £600,000 per anum into the Fleetwood economy through tourism alone.

In Parliament, Mr Ollerenshaw called for a new national policy statement on tidal energy, allowing the potential revenue raised to be made public to investors,

He later told the Weekly News: “What I am calling for is a guide price for the energy which would be created from tidal energy, in the same way there is a price for the energy provided by wind power and solar power.

“It means that potential investors will have a better idea on how much profit they can make, rather than being in the dark as they now are. It would level the playing field.

“We need investors who are prepared to back ventures like the Wyre tidal barrage in Fleetwood.”

In his response to the Fleetwood MP, Edward Davey, the Liberal Democrat Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, appeared to give encouragement to the scheme.

He told him “We do have generous support for tidal energy and many tidal energy developers are coming forward with ideas, which we want to encourage.”

But Mr Ollerenshaw said: “We need more assurances that there will be a new national policy statement because, without that, it will be harder to finance the barrage scheme.

“I have argued that the Fleetwood scheme could be trial project for the much larger River Severn project.

“Sustainable energy is the way ahead.”

The MPs public support in parliament has been welcomed by Bob Long.

He said: “Eric Ollerenshaw has been a supporter of our scheme all along and his comments in Parliament are very welcome . I am keen for the people of Fleetwood to be aware we are still looking to advance this scheme and I am confident it can happen. ”

The scheme will need a highly detailed £2m feasibility study.

, and will then have to obtain planning approval - likely to be from the Government, with Wyre Borough and Lancashire County council also expected to act as consul tees.

If given approval, it would then requite financial backers to pay for the multi- million pound scheme.

The feasibility study will be so detailed it would include reports on engineering, environmental and social/economic factors.

Mr Long, an engineer by trade, added: “We have already set the ball rolling with surveys in preparation for the feasibility study.

“My interest in the barrage scheme is due to my interest in Fleetwood.

“This town is slipping down and down and I know the barrage scheme will prove a massive boost for the economy.It will bring money in and create jobs, mot only in construction but longer term jobs for the town.”

Mr Long also stressed that Wyre Energy would not stand to cream off huge profits itself - he says the town of Fleetwood itself could be stakeholder which could directly benefit financially, through a suitable organisation.

He said: “The thing that drives me is the future prosperity of my home town.”