Industry veteran appointed to head tidal bid

Martin Land has been appointed as project director for the Mersey Tidal Power project, as the Liverpool City Region combined authority seeks to take the scheme towards planning.

Land comes to the role with more than 30 years’ project experience across energy and infrastructure roles. Projects he has worked on include nuclear power in China, HS One in the UK and various roles across the power industry, with his senior roles including spells at ICI, GEC, Westinghouse, Bechtel, EON, Costain and AECOM. He has left a position with Chester-based sustainable infrastructure specialist Black & Veatch to join the tidal power project.

The Mersey Tidal Power scheme involves a barrage being built across the Mersey. First explored as an option in the Mersey in 1981, the idea was examined by Peel and the NWDA before being abandoned in 2011, before metro mayor Steve Rotheram revived the plan in 2017.

In February this year the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority approved £2.5m in funding to carry out the next phase of work and develop a preferred option to take forward to planning. The decision was made on the basis of a year-long study that concluded that there is a strategic case for taking the project forward.

Rotheram said: “Mersey Tidal power has the potential to generate enough energy for up to 1 million homes, create thousands of jobs and make our region Britain’s renewable energy coast. We are at a crucial stage in the process and that is why we have brought Martin in as project director. He has a track record of delivering multi-billion pound projects and is the right person to develop Mersey Tidal Power to the point where government backing can make it a reality.”

Land talked of the challenges of rebuilding the post-pandemic economy and creating green energy assets. He added: “Progressing the Mersey Tidal Power Project is an opportunity that I could not miss out on as we look for the solutions that will make a difference in the future.”

LCR says that the Mersey Tidal Power scheme could have the potential to generate up to four times the energy of all the wind turbines currently operational in Liverpool Bay. Although tidal barrages have been a reality since the 1960s, drawbacks including steep initial costs have meant few locations have pursued them – a proposal for Swansea was rejected in 2018.

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