ECA president Allan Littler believes the UK should do more to exploit natural energy resources that are contained in the sea

ECA president Allan Littler has urged the government to speed up studies looking at the potential of tidal power and the proposed Severn Barrage in particular.

Speaking at a joint ECA/HVCA regional meeting in London, he said: “The sea has been our biggest saviour in the past. We only have to think back to Nelson and then the Victorians to see how important the oceans have been to this country.

“Now, I believe the sea probably holds the solution to our energy issues,” he told members of the two associations attending the meeting at the Royal Automobile Club.

“Most of our major cities are close to the sea, and we have the engineering means to capture its power.”

Littler added that mechanical and electrical engineers should be leading the process and guiding the political arguments over energy because the industry has the most relevant expertise and competence.

“We need to get hold of the financial directors of big organisations and show them where they should be spending their money,” he said. “We need to explain to them that they will make the best return by investing in energy and energy saving.”

“There is nothing better than getting paid for a job and then getting paid again and again because we are the contractors that clients keep turning to,” added Littler.

Earlier, M&E Sustainability expert Mike Malina had reminded the meeting that the first feasibility study on a tidal barrage across the Severn Estuary was carried out in 1925.

Malina said the power such a barrage could deliver would be equivalent to five-and-a-half nuclear power stations.

“Tidal power is completely secure,” explained Malina. “The tide comes in and goes out twice a day. If that stopped we really would be in trouble as it would mean something had happened to the moon.”