Wyre barrage plans re-floated

SEVENTEEN-year-old plans for an electricity-producing barrage at the mouth of the River Wyre have re-surfaced.

The plan, which includes a bridge linking Fleetwood to Preesall, was first mooted in the early 1990s, but failed to get off the ground due to practical difficulties.

A preliminary survey supported by Lancashire County Council has now been dusted off by Fleetwood entrepreneur Edward Greenwood and Thornton businessman Bob Long.

They are hoping to persuade the government and power-generation companies to express an interest.

Mr Long said: "The North West Development Agency have said regarding surveys that they will match us pound for pound. But we need that first pound."

The preliminary - and only report into the barrage study - prompted huge controversy at the time, with many farmers on both sides of the River Wyre fearing it would upset the tidal flow of the river and lead to flood fields on the low lying farm land.

At the time there was uncertainty as to whether the proposal would carry a road bridge. Any such road would have linked the Jubilee Quay area of Fleetwood to land at Knott End Golf Club.

Since the report was published in 1992 there have been major changes in Fleetwood's dockland which could mean a re-think for the exact location of the barrage on both sides of the river.

The barrage plan has been on the backburner since the early 1990s, being overtaken by other energy-related developments such as the Canatxx proposal.

The last time it was mentioned in a public forum was at a conference on issues in Morecambe Bay in October 2000.

Then Wyre Council's deputy chief executive Mr Brian Rowe said: "The proposal for a tidal power-generating barrage at the mouth of the Wyre received a lot of attention.

"It never generated any electricity but it generated a remarkable degree of publicity within government and quasi-government circles."

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