Abandoned plan for bridge or tunnel from Ireland to Wales or Scotland cost £900,000
A plan to link Ireland with Wales or Scotland via a bridge or tunnel cost almost £900,000 before it was abandoned due to being too expensive, the UK Government has revealed.
A tunnel from Holyhead in Wales to Howth in Ireland was considered by the UK Government but found to be “unfeasible” by the study.
The final bill of £896,680.67 reflects the total spent on consultancy services and DfT staff costs. Sir Peter Hendy, who undertook the review alongside his existing role as Chair of Network Rail, did not receive additional remuneration they said.
Sir Peter Hendy was asked to look at the plan for a tunnel or bridge between Great Britain and the island of Ireland as part of his Union Connective Review report, which cost an additional £1m.
The report published in November revealed that a 54-mile tunnel between Wales and Ireland was given serious consideration as part of a number of options.
“After discussion with Sir Peter Hendy it was subsequently agreed to add a seventh corridor to the study between Holyhead and Dublin,” the report notes.
However, the report goes on to say that there were “environmental and scale concerns” and that the corridor was “less likely to be feasible”.
“The [Holyhead tunnel] is dismissed on account of a 52-mile tunnel being six times the length of any tunnel yet constructed, and whilst of great value in facilitating England-Dublin trade, being of no value to Scottish-Irish traffic,” the report says, making no mention of the environmental impact on Wales.
A tunnel to the Isle of Man and onwards to Bangor in Northern Ireland was also on the table. But the most likely route to work was that between Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Eventually, the whole scheme was dropped after the review estimated a tunnel would cost up to £208bn and a bridge would be up to £335bn.
Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps had first suggested the Wales-Ireland tunnel plan as an alternative to Boris Johnson’s proposed bridge to the Financial Times.
“Why not?” he asked, saying they needed to better connect Britain with Northern Ireland.
Baroness Charlotte Vere, parliamentary under-secretary of state at the Department for Transport, had later said that a route between Wales and Ireland was in the works as part of the Fixed Link Feasibility Study begun in March.
Baroness Vere said: “As with any assessment at this early stage, it is important to consider the broad range of options, so a route between Holyhead and Dublin is being assessed as a comparator.
“Since this route is not the main focus of the study, only high-level discussions around it have taken place. These have been facilitated by the independent technical team leading the study.”
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