No.10 resurrects Scotland-Ireland bridge plan
The government has resurrected plans for a bridge linking Scotland and Ireland in an apparent attempt to boost the union after Brexit.
Number 10 has confirmed that government officials are looking into the feasibility of the bridge, which could cost around £20bn.
The idea has previously been floated by prime minister Boris Johnson when he was foreign secretary, with possible routes including a 20-mile stretch between Portpatrick and Larne, or near Campbelltown to the Antrim cast.
But any such project involves significant challenges, including the need to build around 30 huge support towers in water up to 300m (1,000ft) deep. There are also concerns that the bridge would need to cross the Beaufort Dyke, where 1.5m tonnes of munitions were dumped in 1946 after the second world war, reportedly with no maps of their locations.
Chris Richards, head of policy and public affairs at the Institution of Civil Engineers, said: “If this is a serious proposal from the government, it should be put to the National Infrastructure Commission and subject to a comprehensive and independent study. This would allow the right discussions about feasibility, cost and whole-life benefits to be had, and could independently consider whether a fixed link between Scotland and Northern Ireland may enhance the wider infrastructure system.
“It is important that all projects be considered in a holistic and strategic way - at their core, major infrastructure projects, such as a bridge, must address a societal need. We need to move away from projects being viewed in isolation if we are to get closer to meeting national goals, such as addressing climate change. We expect that the government’s upcoming National Infrastructure Strategy will offer a co-ordinated plan of action that maximises the full potential of UK infrastructure investment."