THE estimated cost of creating the controversial Morecambe Bay tidal bridge has now risen to £10billion.

The Northern Tidal Power Gateways (NTPG) project is providing evidence to the Government on the plans to build tidal range power barrages across Morecambe Bay and the Duddon estuaries.

If the project is given the green light it could generate emission free power for 100 years and protect fragile ecologies from the threat of rising sea levels.

Originally it was thought the project would cost £8bn but that estimation has since risen to £10bn.

NTPG is responding to the Government call for evidence on the potential of Marine Energy projects in Great Britain. The business is working with Barrow MP Simon Fell and a consortium of Cumbrian MPs to provide information that will feed into the Government’s forthcoming energy white paper.

The £10 billion Morecambe Bay and Duddon project will deliver eight million megawatt hours of predictable, emission-free power annually, enough for 2 million homes, and create more than 12,000 new jobs.

NTPG is also working with Cumbria LEP and the Moorside Consortium in relation to the Cumbria Energy Hub concept, and has had discussions with major companies in Cumbria about the project that will provide shorter road links between South and West Cumbria and Lancashire.

An important element of the case being put by NTPG is the fact that smart turbine technology can protect the eco-system of Morecambe Bay which is under threat from predicted rises in sea levels associated with global warming , and safeguard coastal communities from tidal flooding.

Chris Nelson, communications director for NTPG said: “We recognise the vital importance and value of the ecology and wildlife in Morecambe Bay and the Duddon Estuary and will do our utmost to protect it when we deliver the tidal range power scheme.

“Environmentalists recognise that the whole world is threatened by global warming and the potential of every emission-free power source must be explored.

“They must also acknowledge that Morecambe Bay’s most sensitive areas are threatened by the almost inevitable sea level rises.

“No-one else is proposing a viable solution to that threat. But our scheme will provide the means to regulate sea levels in the Bay and protect those sensitive areas, while at the same time delivering predictable, emission-free power.”

To take it to the next stage the project requires Government backing to fund research into the impact of the development on the environment, method of construction and stakeholder engagement.

The project has attracted the support of local authorities bordering Morecambe Bay and on Cumbria’s West Coast along with MPs and Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, and discussions have also taken place with major business interests including BAE Systems, Holker Estates, and Associated British Ports.