A £100,000 feasibility study is to be carried out to see if a tidal energy-harnessing barrage could be built across the Solway Firth between Cumbria and Scotland.
The study will be funded jointly by the North West Development Agency, Scottish Enterprise and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.
Recent research by the Joule Centre, the Universities of Liverpool and Lancaster and previous studies by Babtie, Shaw and Morton in the 1960s all highlight the possibilities for tidal energy extraction from the Solway Firth.
The feasibility study will be carried out by a consortium led by the Halcrow Group, supported by nb21c, the organisation responsible for conceiving, developing and promoting the community based proposal which will support the study.
The proposed location for the Bowness and Annan barrage is along the route of a former rail viaduct, spanning the upper reaches of the Firth at its narrowest point. This location also provides the advantage of a possible grid connection at the nearby Chapelcross nuclear power station which is currently being decommissioned.
The NWDA said the proposal aims to ensure local communities, on each side of the Firth in England and Scotland benefit directly from this highly significant resource.
The study will assess additional benefits such as economic development, employment opportunities, flood defence and connectivity between West Cumbria and South West Scotland. The barrage could be linked to possible constructions across Morecambe Bay and the Duddon Estuary, the NWDA said, helping to create an enhanced connective corridor for West Cumbria and South West Scotland.