Fylde MP Mark Menzies is to meet a leading businessman over radical plans for a tidal energy barrage across the River Ribble.
He will discuss the proposals with Alan Torevell, from North West Business Leadership Team (NWBLT), in the constituency next month.
The meeting comes after Mr Menzies asked new Energy Minister, Matthew Hancock MP, a question in Parliament about Government support for the project, which could create enough energy for 18,900 homes and enable easy access from Fylde to Southport and Merseyside via a road link created as part of the barrage.
The scheme is part of the NWBLT’s wider North West Energy Squared (NWE2) project.
Mr Menzies said: “As a former Parliamentary Private Secretary at the Department for Energy and Climate Change, I am keenly aware of the UK’s energy requirements and the amount of time the Government spends on ensuring we have reliable resources.
“Many power sources have issues surrounding security of supply, which is why the country will be looking to procure its energy from a variety of different sectors over the coming decades.
“We are in a unique position in Fylde as we currently have a nuclear fuel production plant at Springfields, near Kirkham, offshore wind generation in the Irish Sea and are also at the centre of the debate on shale gas exploration. However, it is vital renewables play an even greater role in our energy mix in the future.
“I look forward to meeting Mr Torevell to learn more about what the tidal project could mean for our energy needs, as well as the new road which could help open up parts of Lancashire and Merseyside and reduce journey times.”
Mr Menzies raised the issue with the Energy Minister during Department of Energy and Climate Change questions in the House of Commons last week. He said: “There has been a recent proposal for a tidal gateway across the Ribble estuary that could provide enough electricity for 18,000 homes.
“Will the Minister update the House on the progress of the project and ensure that environmental considerations will be at the forefront of the proposal?”
Matthew Hancock responded: “The project is proceeding and I would be very happy to hear more detail about my hon. Friend’s position and support for the project. Ensuring that we get renewable investment of all kinds is an important part of our plan to deal with climate change and increase energy security, and that is something on which we are working hard.”
He added: “Yes, tidal has enormous potential. Only last month, at Pentland firth, we saw the roll-out of the biggest tidal array yet.”
The NWBLT launched North West Energy Squared (NWE2) at the International Festival for Business in Liverpool in June, with a computer controlled model of the region showing currently available power sources and projected new ones using tidal energy and other renewable sources.
Mr Menzies is also set to meet with the new Energy Minister, who came into the role during July’s Cabinet reshuffle, to discuss the project further, as well as issues surrounding potential shale gas exploration in Fylde.