PM’s plan for Northern Ireland-Scotland bridge ‘set to be shelved’


Boris Johnson’s dream of a £20bn bridge or tunnel linking Northern Ireland and Scotland is dead in the water ‘after official review concludes it would be too expensive and difficult’

  • Boris Johnson has spoken repeatedly of his dream to build Scotland-NI bridge
  • He commissioned feasibility study to look at if a bridge or tunnel could be viable
  • But the review reportedly concluded that it would be too expensive and difficult










Boris Johnson’s dream of building a bridge or tunnel between Northern Ireland and Scotland is dead in the water after a review concluded the project would be too expensive and difficult. 

The Prime Minister has spoken repeatedly of his desire to build a permanent transport link to span the Irish Sea.  

He asked Network Rail chairman Sir Peter Hendy to conduct a feasibility study into the project as part of a wider review on how to boost connectivity across the UK.  

The results of the review are expected to be published this week and The Sunday Telegraph reported that it will rule out building the bridge or tunnel for the foreseeable future. 

Boris Johnson's dream of building a bridge or tunnel between Northern Ireland and Scotland is dead in the water after a review concluded the project would be too expensive and difficult

Boris Johnson’s dream of building a bridge or tunnel between Northern Ireland and Scotland is dead in the water after a review concluded the project would be too expensive and difficult

The proposed bridge or tunnel would have potentially run between Portpatrick in Scotland and Larne in County Antrim

 The proposed bridge or tunnel would have potentially run between Portpatrick in Scotland and Larne in County Antrim

A Government source told the newspaper: ‘Hendy has examined if this is affordable and practical and he concludes it would be technically very challenging at the moment.

‘That’s not to say it won’t become viable at some point in the future, but at the moment it would be very, very difficult and expensive.’    

Mr Johnson set the scene for the project to be shelved back in September this year when he said it ‘remains an ambition’ but ‘not the most immediate’ priority.  

The Treasury had major concerns that the project, which came with an estimated £20billion price tag, would prove to be a white elephant.  

The decision to shelve the plan for the bridge or tunnel comes after Mr Johnson faced a backlash for axing the eastern leg of the HS2 high speed rail line between Leeds and Birmingham.  

Mr Johnson first proposed a bridge to Northern Ireland three years ago, but it was dismissed by many experts who warned that building the 20-mile link from Scotland would be a huge logistical challenge. 

It would have potentially run between Portpatrick in Scotland and Larne in County Antrim. 

The initial idea of a bridge was ditched because of concerns that strong winds in the Irish Sea would require frequent closures.   

The Treasury had major concerns that the project, which came with an estimated £20billion price tag, would prove to be a white elephant

 The Treasury had major concerns that the project, which came with an estimated £20billion price tag, would prove to be a white elephant

The initial idea of a bridge was ditched because of concerns that strong winds in the Irish Sea would require frequent closures. The feasibility of a tunnel was also looked at

The initial idea of a bridge was ditched because of concerns that strong winds in the Irish Sea would require frequent closures. The feasibility of a tunnel was also looked at

Major concerns were also raised about how the project would navigate the Beaufort’s Dyke area – the UK’s largest offshore dump site for conventional and chemical munitions after the Second World War. 

In places the bridge route would have crossed water more than 1,000ft deep, requiring the largest support towers ever built.    

The idea of a tunnel was also looked at, as was a combination of a bridge and a tunnel. 

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