CONCERNS have been raised over the possibly irreversible damage the Morecambe Bay Bridge could have on wildlife in the bay.

The proposed £8 billion tidal barrage across the bay was recently described as an ‘attractive idea’ by prime minister Boris Johnson.

The issue of the idea being a blow to nature has been flagged up by many wildlife lovers in the area around Morecambe Bay and it has been said that a possible way to counteract this issue would take a substantial cost says one conservation expert.

David Harpley, conservation manager at Cumbria Wildlife Trust, said: “Morecambe Bay is an internationally important site for its wintering wildfowl and waders, birds arrive from all over the northern hemisphere to spend the winter here, anything that affects the tidal regime of the bay affects the birds using it and these effects are not local, they are international.

“Theoretically, it might be possible to compensate for the loss of tidal feeding area by new habitat creation, but this would mean taking land from around the Bay and returning it to the sea. The cost and difficulty of this are really very substantial.”

This would add even more cost to a project that already has a high price tag attached to it which may cause issue during the planning stage.

Under potential plans, the multi-billion project would incorporate 130 hydro power turbines along the length of two bridges - one of 14km across Morecambe Bay and another of 5.5km between Barrow and Millom across the Duddon Estuary to generate electricity.

Barrow MP Simon Fell put the case for the bridge to the prime minister back in July, arguing it would lead the area towards a ‘green revolution’ and create 7,000 jobs.

Responding to questions over wildlife concerns, Mr Fell said: “Obviously all of this would be considered in the impact assessment phase of any development.”

Northern Tidal Power Gateways, led by chief executive Alan Torevell says its many advantages will include the reliable production of more than eight million megawatt hours of electricity each year, enough to provide two per cent of the nation’s power. At the same time they say it will vastly reduce journey times.

At the same time they say it will vastly reduce journey times from Lancashire to South Cumbria, opening up West Cumbria to tourism and create more than 10,000 jobs from the Fylde to Workington.

NTPG estimates it will cost £20m for the planning phase and as much as £8bn to take the project to completion by 2036.