ONE of the world's largest tidal energy projects has moved a step closer for waters off the isle of Islay.

DP Energy has lodged an application for the development about five miles from the southern shores of the island, close to the village of Portnahaven.

Islay has traditionally backed a number of major renewables projects, but some residents are concerned some of the tidal turbines will be "surface piercing" and therefore impact on sea views.

There are also fears local commercial fishermen may be excluded from a vast area of water as the development takes shape.

Alastair Redman, a community councillor of Portnahaven, said: "This is not Portnahaven against renewables or development, but some people do feel there is no direct benefit to the island. The company has been good and consulting but I am not sure how good they are at taking on board people's concerns."

DP Energy has not ­specified the exact technological specifications for the project, although it is possible between 15 and 30 turbines will be proposed, with a number rising 20 metres above sea level.

While this stage of the application proposes a 30MW capacity, Blair Marnie, project director for DP Energy, said an output of several hundred megawatts could be possible in the future.

Mr Marnie said: "There is still a huge amount of work to be done.

"The specifics are still being developed and there are several reasons for that, including that tidal industry is still in its infancy."

He said further talks were likely to be held with fisherman in the area to discuss the impact of the proposals.