Mersey Tidal barrage image, LCRCA, p LCRCA

The scheme could take a decade to complete. Credit: via LCRCA

Multi-billion-pound Mersey Tidal Power project edges closer 

Having been spoken about for years, the enormous clean energy scheme has taken a “huge step” forward with the formal planning process underway.

Liverpool City Region Mayor Steve Rotheram has revealed he will pursue a barrage between Wirral and Liverpool as the preferred option for the city region’s flagship Mersey Tidal Power project.

The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority will be asked at its March meeting next week to approve the submission of a scoping opinion to the Planning Inspectorate later this year for what could be the world’s largest tidal power scheme.

The barrage could generate clean, predictable energy for 120 years and create thousands of jobs in its construction and operation.

In addition, the project opens up the possibility of creating the first-ever cycling and pedestrian route over the river between Liverpool and Wirral and could also provide a defence against future flooding risks associated with climate change, according to the combined authority.

Rotheram said the scheme would position the city region as “a leader in the green industrial revolution”.

“The River Mersey has been the lifeblood of our region’s fortunes for centuries – and it has an even more vital role to play in our future,” he said.

“Mersey Tidal Power has the potential to generate clean, predictable energy for 120 years, create thousands of green jobs and apprenticeships – and all but seal our area’s status as Britain’s renewable energy coast.”

Mersey Tidal barrage image , LCRCA, p LCRCA

A walking link between Liverpool and Wirral is planned. Credit: via LCRCA

While the scheme is progressing, Rotheram is “under no illusions” about hurdles still to be overcome.

“We know there are still significant technical and financial challenges to overcome, but the plans we’ve unveiled today mark a huge step on our journey to bringing Mersey Tidal Power to life.

“Quite simply, the case for tidal has never been clearer – both for our economy and our planet.”

The project could be up and running in a decade, according to the combined authority. However, the scheme would require significant government backing to get off the ground.

That being said, a barrage option would be less expensive than a lagoon, requiring less material and lower levels of government support, the CA said.

If agreed, prior to the scoping opinion being submitted the Combined Authority would carry out a period of engagement, regionally, and nationally, with stakeholders. Once the scoping opinion is received, the CA will hold formal consultations across communities and stakeholder groups.

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It needs a roadway the toll would help pay for it and save long journeys either side of the river

By Liverpolitis

A walkable route between Wirral and Liverpool would be a multi billion pound boost to the economy, Birkenhead would boom if it had that view and a ten minute walk into town. It is the final missing link. There’s no reason part of it couldn’t be tunnelled or retractable to allow ships to pass. Cant somebody hold a design competition?

By Geoff

Sounds great 👍

By Anonymous

This is amazing! I know it will take 20 years not 10 but its still exciting.

By Dan

Fantastic idea, could protect Liverpool and beyond from possible raise in sea levels. The idea of many decade’s of renewable energy is exciting. Many positives but can the funding be found

By Alan

No idea if this will actually happen, but my days if it did. Would seriously move the city on with football ground already transforming the docks on one end and the Albert dock at the other

By Anonymous

This would be amazing if it gets built, tidal power is predictable and reliable. Added walking route would be a bonus.


The ‘financial challenges,’ as the mayor describes them, are significant – and that’s before you get to the engineering challenges of constructing this on such a fast, deep river with such a strong tide. Setting aside where any funding consortium will come from that will be willing to accept such a long pay-back period, good luck with finding one that will also sign up for something with such obvious risk of massive cost over-runs. The ‘unforeseens’ column on this will be huge.

By Anonymous

Where would it be positioned, what about allowing vessels to get to Birkenhead docks, Garston docks, Eastham dock, and MSC.
Liverpool docks is the lifeblood of the city and they need to be very careful that this project does not affect the movement of shipping. In addition I doubt if this barrage will look pretty,and those wonderful views across the Mersey and out to the Irish Sea will be affected forever.

By Anonymous

This to me is just another ‘flight of fancy’ for Mayor Steve Rotheram. The barrage and tidal power were spoken about in the 1990’s and I believe the then Merseyside Development Corporation looked into it and presented more tha n a few studies on it but nothing came of it. The River Mersey does run really fast and strong and I would suggest that a much smaller ‘test bed’ be built first along the lines of those off the Orkney Islands just to see if the immense engineering problems that will occur in the building of the tidal barrage’s /bridge can be overcome and yes to see if it really is feasible. It is election year this year and I forecast that many grand ideas will be put forward that will have little hope of seeing the light of day. I hope that I will be proved wrong as in my heart I think it is a great idea but in my head I really think it will never happen.

By Brendan R

I want to believe but the UK simply doesn’t build this kind of infrastructure (unless it benefits London in some way)

By Anonymous

For decades liverpool specialised in promoting unviable vertical projects; now its going to have a go at unviable horizontal projects, as explained by Anonymous
March 08, 2024 at 7:45 am. Progress! Floreat Liverpool!

By Anonymous

I think this is a great idea, from green energy, jobs, and community perspectives. The big hurdle is, as always the money. It would be great if the barrage was wide enough to also fit trams on it too (e.g., sweeping back and forth from Birkenhead/Wallasay to Liverpool Waters and back).

By Chris

Absolutely Fabulous!

By Susan Marie Parry

This could be spectacular.

By Elephant

Its election time for Steve

By Anonymous

Yes definitely do it.

By Damian Mohan

Its a fantastic idea in terms of harnessing energy, new infrastructure and potential for more links although an idea that has been raised time and tide again (or perhaps that should be tired again). The technical and the financial hurdles are huge and the payback period for investment beyond the time horizon of many investors or pension funds. Something like this should be a national infrastructure project albeit I doubt given how we currently deal with such things its going to happen soon or to budget.

By Pierre Head

Get this built asap!

By Anon

It needs an Island in the centre with hotel / casino

By Brian

This has been a prospective project for decades. It just doesnt work finacially because it requires huge up front subsidy plus the operation of the ports requires a navigable channel which would impact on any road. Can’t see it but this is one of Steves pet projects he dusts off to talk about regularly


It’s about time at last clean energy system for at least 120 years, low running costs no dirty fuel creating good jobs no brainer and while not do Heysham to barrow duel purposes road tidal power again creating good jobs


Maybe if you scrap the silly idea of a £98 million bridge from Maritime museum to Canning Dock it would give you a down payment

By George

What about the ships?

By Anonymous

This would be done with 1 year in China. This is the North of England ? wont happen .

By Anonymous

@PIerre Head and @Anonymous 07:45 nail this: it is a political fantasy that has no basis in financial reality. Anyone would think there was an election coming.

By More Anonymous than the others

Wishful thinking ,any other country would of had this done years ago

By Anonymous

Hurry up get started

By Anonymous

This is one of the non-starter schemes that refuses to die, and it’s absolutely no coincidence Rotheram has revived it this near to the mayoral election, with added active travel route to tick further boxes.
The barrage plan for the Severn Estuary has been much more actively pursued over recent years, and has fallen down every time it’s been seriously examined. It’s also been strongly opposed by actual environmentalists on ecology grounds, as opposed to bandwagon jumpers and anyone who assumes that if the PR pitch mentions green, then it must be.
There’s much more scope for onshore wind schemes in the LCR, but that still generally needs Government subsidy, and overcoming nimbys.

By Windsock

Well said, Windsock. The Mersey Estuary is internationally important for biodiversity as evidenced by its numerous international and national biodiversity designations. The estuary is crucial for thousands of wintering birds reliant on tides, also porpoises and other important species and habitats which require free access up and down river. There is no doubt a scheme like this (not that it will ever be built) would destroy that.

By Think Deeper

Pipe dreams lah

By Anonymous

This is the kind of project the EU would have supported before Brexit, no way the tory government will support it and I’m pretty sceptical about labours regional credentials.

By Anonymous

It actually disgusts me that this is dragged up for the fresh generation when everyone else knows that this just isn’t a viable scheme. It’s another pipe dream like HS2 and it needs to stop. Haven’t we been lied to enough the past few years? Just stop it.

By Anonymous

I really hope this happens

By Aq

Assuming it is built between Dinhgle and Tranmere t with an extension of the Ship Canal the effect on shipping would be minimal. The tidal range is likely to reduce in the Estuary as per the 1960s French barrage at La Rance but this could create a huge new Leisure facility based on the resulting less turbulent estuary which would become the largest lake in England. There would be an effect on the bird population but that could be mitigated by cleaning up the pollution in the river. A toll road sounds good.

By Bill Harper

Who will pay the bill ,the rate payers

By Anonymous

If Steve Rotherham wants to add this to the waterfront he’s got no excuses for his skyscraper policies

By Anonymous

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