Bridgwater Bay is now a prime candidate for an energy-generating tidal lagoon after a report commending a similar scheme proposed for Swansea, says the local MP.
Ian Liddell-Grainger, the Conservative member for Bridgwater and West Somerset, says a favourable assessment of the £1.3bn Swansea project by former energy minister Charles Hendry has now greatly increased the chances of a similar, major scheme going ahead on the Somerset side of the Channel.
Mr Hendry’s Government-commissioned review says the lagoon would make a "strong contribution" to the UK's energy supply and unlock a range of significant economic opportunities. And, he said, it could represent the foundation of a new industry run by its own, dedicated energy authority.
The Bristol Channel experiences the second-highest tidal range in the world and has been earmarked for some form of tidal power generation since the 1950s.
But, said Mr Liddell-Grainger: “This report really puts some flesh on the bones of the idea and makes it quite clear that a tidal barrage is feasible, affordable and desirable.
“Charles Hendry is a well-respected figure. He also supported Hinkley Point C and enjoyed the confidence of both management and unions involved in that project, so the Government should be listening to what he says.
“We know the conditions in Bridgwater Bay are ideal for tidal power generation so really the only issues to be settled are the strike price and the issuing of licences to build on the sea bed by the Crown Estate.
“Inevitably, I think, we are going to run into opposition from the RSPB but the potential loss of habitat would, I am sure, be far less than would be experienced from a tidal barrage.
“And when it comes to balancing out all the issues, from the needs of wildlife to the nation’s requirements for clean, reliable long-term energy generation I still believe there will be far more positives than negatives when the case for the Bridgwater Bay project is examined closely.”