The company behind a highly ambitious plan to build a combined road and tidal generation scheme across Morecambe Bay is stepping up its efforts to attract funding and support.

Northern Tidal Power Gateways wants to build dual carriageways stretching across Morecambe Bay to Barrow and then across the Duddon Estuary to Millom and Moorside.

As well as being a transport route transforming travel times to Barrow and West Cumbria, the roads would incorporate more than 100 turbine generators to harness the power of the tides, as well as carrying other utilities such as electric and fibre optic cables.

The company invited an audience of nearly 70 people to a meeting at Kendal Town Hall, to lay out the benefits of the project and garner support.

Professor Roger Falconer, of Cardiff University, who is a hydro-environmental consultant, told the event one of the benefits of tidal power generation was its predictability compared to other forms of renewable energy.

The Morecambe Bay scheme could be expected to produce at least seven terawatt hours a year providing two per cent of the UK’s electricity needs, he said.

It would also significantly reduce travel times from Lancashire to Barrow and West Cumbria as well as creating jobs and attracting tourists.

NTPG finance director Robert Barker said the project could create up to 7000 jobs in the construction phase and 4000 permanent jobs, as well as making Cumbria the centre of a potentially huge global tidal power industry.

NTPG estimates it will cost £20m for the planning phase and as much as £8bn to take the project to completion by 2036.

Alan Torevell, chair of NTPG, said consultants Mott MacDonald were working on a strategic outline base case, which it would then be able to take to regional and national bodies to push for funding.

“The government is committed to having completely renewable emission free power by 2050,” he said.

“You can’t achieve that unless you use tidal power.”

NTPG was working with the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology to assess and mitigate the environmental effects of the scheme, he said.

“We are all ready to go if we can just get a few bob,” he said.