COMMUNITY leaders have welcomed the possibility of a bridge across Morecambe Bay but have questioned how such a major project would be funded.

It comes after Barrow councillor Alan Pemberton launched a petition in favour of the bridge in an effort to build support and put pressure on central government to consider the project more seriously.

Barrow MP John Woodcock cautiously welcomed the idea and said: “I wish Councillor Pemberton well but the question isn’t whether bridges across Morecambe Bay and the Duddon would be popular, it is how we could find the billions of pounds they would cost to build.

“I am interested in working with anyone who has a credible finance plan and suggestion of how to get round the environmental barriers of building through protected areas.

“But if not then the risk is that a petition is a gimmick designed to get attention before local council elections when we should be focusing on desperately needed improvements to the A590, A595, struggling buses and trains.”

Dave Pidduck, leader of Barrow Council, said: “This is quite an exciting project.

“One question I would have would be about cost and would we be able to get a ball park figure of costs for the bridge to be built.

“I believe the figure quoted was around £8billion.

“I also believe it was suggested that half of this would come from the public sector and the other half would come from the private sector.

“At this moment in time, one difficulty would be persuading central government to be engaged in such a major project.

“It is a massive project and would obviously cost a massive amount of money.

“At this time, it seems central government does not want to get involved with big infrastructure projects such as this one.

“Barrow Council, South Lakeland Council and Lancaster City Council have sent a joint letter of support to the organisers of the project.

“We are working together with the other councils for the good of the county.”