§ Mr. Butler
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what information he has on the current status of the Mersey barrage project.
§ Mr. Peter Morrison
I am pleased to welcome the recent proposal for a third stage of feasibility studies for a tidal energy barrage by the Mersey Barrage Company, the details of which are now being considered by my Department. A Government contribution of up to £1.5 million, anticipated to be 50 per cent. of the study costs, will be made available subject to satisfactory contractual negotiations.
I have also established an interdepartmental ministerial committee, under my chairmanship, which will meet for the first time later this week, to consider the wider, non-energy and regional implications of the proposed barrage. The Mersey barrage is a major renewable energy project, which could provide over a half of 1 per cent. of the United Kingdom's present electricity needs.