Tidal energy boost despite Brexit fears

Artist's impression of the Wyre Tidal Barrage scheme.
Artist's impression of the Wyre Tidal Barrage scheme.
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Plans to create a £300 million tidal barrage scheme in Fleetwood have received a major boost - despite new challenges posed by Brexit.

One of the most ambitious engineering projects ever planned for Fleetwood, the barrage will harness tidal energy from the River Wyre between Fleetwood and Knott End - creating an ecological tourism attraction.

Natural Energy Wyre (NEW), the company behind the plans, has now set up a new consortium which includes powerful operators in the global fields of engineering and green energy.

Bob Long, MD, of NEW, says the consortium increases the company’s expertise and influence and will provide vital help with funding and the smooth delivery of the scheme - which it is hoped can be operational by 2020/21.

Mr Long says the timing of the new development is vital, because he feels Britain’s exit from Europe has created new challenges over the falling pound and Britain’s trading position.He said: “It helps that we have set up a consortium with some of the world’s leading players - we are not a local group but an organisation which includes global players.

He added: “Because the power of the pound has fallen, it means that when we need to buy turbines our spending power could be devalued if the pound remains week. If international companies are nervous about trading with Britain, post-Brexit, that creates another challenge.”

He added: “The barrage would be a huge boost to Fleetwood, given the loss of key industries like fishing. “

Not only will the barrage itself create jobs, but the numbers of visitors would boom because it would be a major tourist attraction in its own right.”