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Boris Johnson’s tunnel from Wales to Ireland won’t happen after all, UK Government sources confirm

13 Sep 2021 3 minutes Read
The proposed tunnel would stretch from Holyhead to Dublin

A tunnel from Wales to Ireland won’t happen after all, the UK Government officials have confirmed.

Ministers had said in June that “high level discussions” were taking place about an underwater tunnel between Holyhead and the Republic of Ireland capital Dublin.

The plan would be presented to Prime Minister Boris Johnson as a “comparator” to the separate idea of a tunnel or bridge between Scotland and Northern Ireland, with only one of the two going ahead.

However, it has now been confirmed that the idea of linking the two islands has been junked, the victims of a crackdown by the Treasury as the UK Government tightens its belt post-Covid.

According to the Financial Times, plans for the tunnel – which could have run from Scotland or Wales to Ireland – have been described as “dead” by government officials briefed on spending negotiations ahead of Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Budget next month.

The spending review will “deliver a hammer blow” to Johnson’s plan to build the tunnel, the newspaper said, quoting one government official as saying: “It’s dead — at least for now”.

One official said the idea was “ahead of its time” and that current technology would require a “very long” rail tunnel.

Baroness Charlotte Vere, parliamentary under-secretary of state at the Department for Transport, had 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.”

‘Batshit’

The tunnel idea came to the fore after the chair of the Union Connectivity Review, a wide-ranging study of the economic potential of UK infrastructure, suggested that it may work better than a bridge.

An interim UCR report published in March this year said that the UK Government would “assess the feasibility, cost and timescales” of constructing a fixed link.

Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps then suggested the 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.

Another Boris Johnson idea, suggested to the Times, was of a roundabout under the Isle of Man connecting the different nations of the UK. However, his plan had no Welsh entrance.

Other tunnels emanating from the giant roundabout would run towards Northern Ireland and Stranraer in Scotland.

A Whitehall official told the Times that “People think this is all a joke but it’s much more likely to get the go-ahead than people think”.

According to the newspaper, however, the tunnel scheme is regarded as “batshit” by several of Johnson’s senior aides.

“The idea was that these three tunnels would meet in a giant roundabout underneath the Isle of Man and the tunnel to Ireland would start there,” a source told the Times. “Everyone knows Boris wants to do this so people were asked to look at how.”

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Llywelyn ein Llyw Nesaf
Llywelyn ein Llyw Nesaf
12 days ago

Would probably still be cheaper than HS2, and would actually benefit Cymru.

But it’s not a victim of Covid belt-tightening. The economic case was pretty questionable anyway, and the total collapse of UK-Ireland trade thanks to Brexit has completely destroyed any financial arguments.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
12 days ago

If it were in England interest, would be built. See Tryweryn. No major rail, road or power station infrastructure build in Wales has soley benefitted Wales. It’s been done with outside interests. And the infrastructure builds we do have in the North & South were done to facilitate the transportation of goods between the Republic of Ireland & England. Wales was and still is merely a land bridge between both. We did have rail & canal infrastructure throughout Wales once, but when the coal, copper, slate industries ended, all links were destroyed or canals filled in. Never did it in… Read more »

Last edited 12 days ago by Y Cymro
Quornby
Quornby
12 days ago

Can we have a ditch along the land border please?

Alun
Alun
12 days ago
Reply to  Quornby

That’s a much better Offa

j humphrys
j humphrys
12 days ago
Reply to  Quornby

Well, if you like, there’s my old border forest project……………….

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
12 days ago

Are telling me Boris has broken another election promise? Surely not. The Tories never lie. What next? You’ll be saying Boris won’t be laying in front of those bulldozers to stop a third runway at Heathrow next. If he said he’ll do it, he’ll do it. I’ve heard also that those lefties say he’ll be put up taxes by increasing National Insurance. Golly gosh. This can’t be true? The glorious Tories are a low tax virtuous party full of saints. Only Socialists & Nationalists are tax & spent parties of whippets & flat caps. And I’d say the same about… Read more »

Last edited 12 days ago by Y Cymro
Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
12 days ago

The rise in NI and cut to UC will take over £18Bn a year out of the UK economy with all the ramifications that has for the retail economy, poverty and tax revenues. To add stupidity to ideological incompetence, the government itself has to find £2Bn a year to pay employer’s NIC. The morons have already decided to throw good money after bad by cancelling the Eastern link of HS2 totally destroying what little economic justification there ever was for a scheme which will cost Welsh taxpayers £6Bn for no benefits whatsoever. Time for change. We can no longer afford… Read more »

Kilvey
Kilvey
12 days ago
Reply to  Kerry Davies

“We can no longer afford the English”…love that!!

hdavies15
hdavies15
12 days ago
Reply to  Kilvey

Amend that to “English regime and their shabby values” !

j humphrys
j humphrys
12 days ago
Reply to  hdavies15

Only part of the English. A different voting system and things would change.
But for the time being, Johnson is doing the English down too, with broken promises on the side of the bus just the beginning.

Grayham Jones
12 days ago

It’s time for a new wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 A Free Wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 kick idiot like Johnson out of wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 stop being little Englanders and be proud to be welsh

hdavies15
hdavies15
12 days ago

So what ? It was part of the fantasy vanity project collection specially produced by a government long on fibbers, fantasists and downright liars. Next week no doubt they’ll come up with some new idea, equally daft and equally unlikely ever to see the light of day. Sad to say, but had HS2 only arrived around now as an idea it would probably get junked after spend a few million on “preliminary studies” by a mix of the usual well connected suspects. Instead, because it was spawned years ago the bloody thing has got off the ground sucking up a… Read more »

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