A MULTI-BILLION pound tidal power project off the Workington coast has been put on the back burner by the company behind it. 

Tidal Lagoon Power announced its proposals in 2014 for the tidal lagoon to be created between the Port of Workington and Dubmill Point, just north of Allonby. 

Despite feasibility studies being carried out, the firm has decided to concentrate on its first two lagoon project in Swansea Bay and Newport, in Wales. 

It was approved by energy ministers last year but this week, Tidal Lagoon Power said the project been set back 12 months, after negotiations over how much public money it would need stalled.

Mark Sharrock, chief executive, said a definitive answer about how much cash would be forthcoming in the next four to six weeks, or the project would run into major problems. 

The firm wanted to create six lagoons across the UK.

It was hoped that the west Cumbrian lagoon would be operational by 2023.

A company spokesman said: "We remain confident that a tidal lagoon in this area could deliver a range of economic, social and environmental benefits.

"In the meantime, our current priority has to be the construction of our first project in Swansea Bay and the continued development of Tidal Lagoon Cardiff and Tidal Lagoon Newport as the first full scale lagoons that are now in the planning system."

The west Cumbrian project would be a larger version of the Swansea Bay lagoon and would power homes throughout its 120-year life.

Giant sea walls would capture tides that could generate over two gigawatts of power.

Plans also include up to 90 turbines set within the breakwater.

It could also feature public amenities, tourist attractions and diversity schemes such as biofuels through marine farming.

It is hoped that the lagoon will help with erosion along the coast due to the calmer waters.

It would tie in with the Moorside nuclear development, as a new National Grid connection would be in place to send power north and south.