Plans have been revealed for a £2bn tidal barrage across The Wash, a bay in East Anglia between Lincolnshire and Norfolk, which will feature the world’s first tidal energy-powered deep sea container terminal, act as a flood defence and have rail and road elements.
The 17.7km barrage, named Centre Port UK, would stretch between Gibraltar Point and Hunstanton is intended first and foremost to “provide guardianship of the ecology of The Wash and Fenlands” according to the developer, Port Evo.
Turbines beneath the structure will harness tidal energy from The Wash’s 780km2 tidal area, which is said to be enough to power circa 600,000 homes and businesses in the region. The infrastructure will provide a flood defence for the whole of The Wash area, extending to Peterborough and Cambridge, protecting more than 1M people.
Innovation comes in the form of the world’s first tidal energy powered container terminal. It will be be state-of-the-art and able to service 1.5M 6m equivalent containers from 23,000 6m equivalent ships after the first phase. This will expand to 2.6M containers in phase 2 and then 4M containers in phase 2a. It will have quad lift cranes able to pick up four 6m containers or two 12m containers on each lift, meaning ships will spend less time in port. Port Evo says the offshore location will simultaneously provide a high level of security while ensuring there is no land-side noise or light pollution.
Atop the barrage will be a road that would be a dual carriageway from the container terminal to the Lincolnshire side and a single carriageway between the terminal and Nofolk. This will cut journey time between the two counties from 2.5 hours to 20 minutes, creating a “new powerhouse” for business.
Rail infrastructure is also part of the proposal, with four terminals proposed. The developer intends to connect it to the East Coast Main Line.
It is also being promoted as a levelling up opportunity, as it will provide over 1,000 job opportunities during and after construction, with more than 300 full-time skilled jobs also being created within the port in south Lincolnshire. It’s said that the green energy from the hydro-electric dam will create manufacturing opportunities across research and development.
The project has received six figure seed funding from energy specialist Centrica, with which it also has a power agreement. The project is now looking to raise £8M for a two-year feasibility study, on which it will engage with environmental and technical consultancies.
Its fate will ultimately be decided by the government Planning Inspectorate, as it will be a considered a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project.
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