Mott MacDonald will study the benefits and challenges of the project located across Morecambe Bay and the Duddon Estuary.

The construction cost of the project could be around £8bn. The project, which holds potential to create around 7,500 construction jobs, can generate about £300m gross value added per annum to the north west economy during construction.

With the potential to reach Moorside, the project will include power generating turbines and transport links from the M6 in the south to Millom.

Northern Tidal’s initial studies demonstrated that the Morecambe Bay gateway could produce around 6,500GWh of electricity per annum, helping to meet the power requirements of about 1.5 million homes.

The studies also showed that the Duddon Estuary gateway is expected to produce about 100GWh of electricity per annum, which may power around 25,000 homes.

According to Mott MacDonald, the project can enhance economic growth through improving transport infrastructure and connectivity in the regions.

Mott MacDonald project director David Stork said: “We are very proud to be working on this exciting and ambitious project, which has the potential to be transformational for the north west.

“Our team will be responsible for investigating all the opportunities made possible by this development, as well as understanding the challenges that will need to be overcome to make the project feasible."

Dewhurst Torevell chair Alan Torevell said: “We have been engaged in promoting this project for over four years with substantial help from the University of Lancaster, the National Environmental Research Council and others along the way."

"It is hoped that before the end of Autumn 2017 there will be sufficient confidence to move into the feasibility phase of the project, where all the necessary planning requirements will need to be met and any remaining environmental concerns alleviated, to enable a start to be made.”