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Exclusive | £2.8bn Morecambe Bay tunnel scrapped

3053003 national grid cable tunnel

The £2.8bn North West Coast Connections project, which includes the 22km long Morecambe Bay tunnel near Lancaster, has been officially scrapped, New Civil Engineer can reveal.

National Grid confirmed that the process to formally terminate its agreement with NuGen to build the connection had started today.

There had been questions over the future of the connection after joint venture NuGen, which included Japanese developer Toshiba, pulled the plug on its new Moorside power station near Sellafield in the Lake District.

A National Grid spokesperson said: “One of National Grid’s key roles is to connect new generation into the electricity transmission system.

“We are in contact with Toshiba following their announcement. We currently have a connection agreement in place with the company but they are in the process of terminating this, which will effectively bring the North West Coast Connections project to an end.”

The complex project would have connected the power station via transmission lines across the Lake District to Flookburgh on the southern tip of the Lakes and then in a new 5m diameter, 22km sub-sea cable tunnel to Morecambe Bay.

Work on the link started in 2011, but it was paused in May 2017 when Toshiba announced that they were undertaking a review of the viability of their project. 

However, earlier this month, Toshiba pulled out of the deal to build the power station after its nuclear division Westinghouse collapsed in March 2017 and talks to sell the plans on to the South Korean state-owned company Kepco failed.

Morgan Sindall Engineering Solutions and BakerHicks provided front end engineering design services on the project, including the design of the tunnel and shaft design, islet and head house development, and all the associated mechanical, electrical, civil and structural works.

The plant was planned to supply 7% of the UKs energy. 

NuGen has been contacted for a response.

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Readers' comments (2)

  • Decisions critical to the future energy policy of the UK being made in foreign boardrooms. What have we come to?

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  • Philip Alexander

    7% of a country's electricity supply from one source is massive. What is our NATIONAL government doing about it? Faffing around hoping that Chinese and Japanese companies will build them (us) out of trouble using fiçkle foreign funding. What a pathetic mess.
    And by the way, if all petrol and diesel vehicles are banned and everything has to be electric, who's going to provide the extra capacity? I've worked out that a conservative estimate is an extra 15 GW or about 5 nuclear power stations!!

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