WEST Somerset Council has been urged to pour resources into a study exploring the feasibility of a tidal lagoon in the Bristol Channel.
West Somerset’s Conservative MP, Ian Liddell-Grainger, says the project would open up opportunities for tourism, as well as generating clean electricity.
Proposals for a lagoon from west of Minehead to the coast east of Watchet were recently put forward at a tidal power conference hosted by the district council.
Mr Liddell-Grainger believes the project is sound enough to warrant a full-scale investigation and study, and would be more achievable than a tidal barrage across the Bristol Channel.
“Unfortunately, the economics of a full-scale barrage remain as questionable as they always were,” he said.
“But at first sight a tidal lagoon would not only be more feasible, but would deliver real, tangible benefits in terms of construction jobs and generating capacity.”
The £2.4billion scheme would enclose over 50 sq km of water and produce enough power to supply half a million homes.
It would create a permanent deep-water mooring facility for up to 600 vessels and protect one of the most vulnerable sections of the Bristol Channel coastline from further erosion.
Mr Liddell-Grainger said every effort should be made to find the £1.6million needed for a full-scale study and preparation of plans.
“This has all the hallmarks of a scheme which is much more within our reach than a barrage and could be completed in a fraction of the time,” he said.
“Both the local councils should be bending over backwards to find the money to support a project which has the potential to be so transformational.”
A spokesperson for West Somerset Council said: “We are closely involved in discussions centring on the potential for tidal power generation.
“There are further and ongoing discussions between interested parties including West Somerset Council, Somerset County Council, Bristol City and Cardiff councils and Regen SW.
“Partners have agreed to develop a Memorandum of Understanding to ensure that any activity is co-ordinated and are working up a more detailed feasibility study to look at what can be achieved and where.
“All involved want to harness any opportunities the project could create.”