Plans to bring solar-powered boat from New York to Diss Mere

Views of Diss Mere with the Town behind
Views of Diss Mere with the Town behind

A 78-year-old Diss inventor has revealed plans to build a solar-powered pleasure boat on the Mere.

Brian Ellis, who invented solar-powered traffic lights and has always had a passion for renewable energy, hopes to make the boat a unique tourist attraction for the town.

An initial meeting has been held between Mr Ellis, Diss clerk Deborah Sarson and Diss mayor Neil Howard, who said he liked the idea and thought it would tie in well with a plan to build a boardwalk around the Mere as part of the Heritage Triangle Project

Mr Ellis is currently in negotiations with Montgomery Gisborne, president of Tamarack Lake Electric Boat Company based in Rome, New York, who has invented the first solar-powered pontoon boat, which seats up to ten people.

Mr Ellis hopes to ship the boat over, which costs in the region of $25,000, set up a workshop in Diss, and hire skilled youngsters to assemble it. It would then be kept on the Mere and visitors could pay for a tour of the water.

He said: “I was wandering through Diss and I thought how lovely it would be to put a boat like that on the Mere. But it has to be solar powered because I wouldn’t want petrol or diesel polluting it.

“From an environmental point of view it’s a major step forward and it would be great if Diss could lead the way, then they could be used in every waterway in the country.”

Mr Ellis added that the plans were in the early stages.