A tunnel between Northern Ireland and Scotland is among the proposals being looked at by ministers as part of a wide-ranging review of connectivity within the UK, Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, has confirmed.
“One of the elements in that review is should we have some sort of fixed connection – that could be a tunnel, it could be a bridge – between, for example, Scotland and Northern Ireland, which is the closest crossing,” he recently told the BBC.
“Actually it is odd in a sense that we don’t have a connection with another part of the United Kingdom, so it is looking at whether that is feasible or not.”
The transport connectivity review is being carried out by the Network Rail chairman, Sir Peter Hendy, as part of Boris Johnson’s effort to improve UK transport links. Two engineering professors have been commissioned to lead a study into the feasibility of a bridge or tunnel, outlining its cost, timescale and the work involved.
Experts have warned however that the depth of the Irish Sea and the presence of dumped munitions from WW2 would cause problems.
Shapps said any fixed link between Scotland and Northern Ireland was more likely to be a tunnel than a bridge. He said: “I imagine that you would need to do a tunnel because of weather factors. What we are talking about here is bridging or tunnelling a distance from here to France where notably we have built a tunnel.”