Major Mersey tidal energy project takes step forward despite environmental concerns

The scheme would use either a barrage or lagoon to power up to a million homes but there are fears about the possible impact on wildlife in the Mersey Estuary.

A major energy project which could generate power for up to a million homes has taken a step forward, despite the concerns of some councillors and environmentalists.

The Liverpool City Region (LCR) is looking to appoint an expert technical advisor and designer to develop the next stage designs for the Mersey Tidal Power Project.

The scheme would use either a barrage or lagoon to harness the power of the Mersey’s tidal flow in Liverpool Bay to generate electricity.

Backers say it could generate clean energy for up to a million homes and lead to thousands of jobs. It could be up and running within a decade and form part of the region’s push to net zero carbon by 2040.

But fears have previously been raised by some local environmental groups about the possible impact on wildlife in the Mersey Estuary.

Cllr Bill Woolfall raised fears about upstream damage in Halton.

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And in a previous council meeting Cllr Bill Woolfall, Chairman of Halton’s environment and urban renewal policy board – who has also sat on the LCR’s scrutiny board – raised fears about the potential damage upstream – particularly in Halton.

He also questioned how much electricity it would actually produce.

A spokesperson for the LCR said: “We are still at the early stages of this project but we are very mindful of the potential environmental impact of either a tidal scheme, particularly when we are talking about the environmentally significant habitats of the Mersey Estuary.

“That’s why we are putting such emphasis on not only complying with the very strict formal requirements of the consenting process but also engaging very closely with a wide range of environmental stakeholders.

“We are absolutely committed to protecting our environment and will do everything we can to continue developing this transformational project in the most environmentally sensitive way possible.”

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Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the LCR ,said the scheme would be a project of ‘international significance’, whose success would have major implications for the global energy market.

The Liverpool City Region consists of six councils, Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral .