There is no doubt that the cancellation of the Moorside contract is a tremendous blow to the West Coast and that we should fight all the way to get it re-instated. This coming after the Glaxo multi million pound investment cancellation leaves only the BAE submarine successor left which hopefully will keep Barrow Shipyard going for the next 20 years or so. So while still fighting to get the Moorside project back on board we must look for other ways to support the Cumbrian economy. The "Tidal Gateway” project for Morecombe Bay and The Duddon Estury fullfills not only a local need but also will benefit a National and global campaign on climate change. By providing a dual carriageway across both, you would be able to get from Heysham to Barrow in 17 minutes while from Askam to the far end of Whitcham Valley would take approx. 5 or 6 minutes. The Northern Tidal Power Gateway company together with their partners Mott MacDonald (the world –renowned consultants in hydro power transport and economics) and the Natural Environmental Research Centre have already submitted plans on how this can be achieved and are looking for support from local organisations and politicians to get the backing from the government to start the ball rolling with a pre- feasibility Study . While we should continue to try and improve the A590 and theA595 in the short term we must start thinking for the medium and long term and this project is one that is going to benefit the Cumbrian economy for the next 100 years. Providing enough renewable energy for 2 million homes at an initial cost of £60 per megawatt hour, reducing petrol and diesel usage and of course carbon emissions this really is a no brainer and our LEP ,local councils and a conservative government should be doing everything possible to harness the guaranteed 20 to35 ft tides that we get twice a day 365 days a year. I believe in addition to national growth requirements it is forecast that it will take20,000 offshore windmills to meet the needs of electric cars alone by 2050 . Investment now is required to meet these requirements otherwise we will find ourselves having to import our energy supplies which would be a disaster . Medium and long term planning will always bring better rewards than short term expediency. If we act now we may reduce the number of university students who do not return to the area from the 2 out of 3 that it is at the moment.
Alan Pemberton (Cons Barrow Borough Council)