England-Wales road and rail links to be discussed in ‘Union connectivity review’ after bridge to Ireland scrapped
Road and rail links between England and Wales and from England into Scotland will be the focus of a ‘Union connectivity review’ published this week – after earlier plans for a bridge to Ireland were scrapped.
A bridge or tunnel from Wales or Scotland to Ireland had been under serious discussion in Whitehall but found to be impractical.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said in May that a tunnel between Holyhead and Dublin 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.
But neither will now get off the ground – or under it – after UK Government sources told the Telegraph that they were not feasible. Instead, the “recommendations for boosting connections across the Union are expected to focus instead on road and rail links to Wales and to Scotland”.
“More time was spent investigating the feasibility of a tunnel, with input from two engineering professors. A sub-sea road tunnel was deemed a non-starter on account of its proposed length, because it would take too long for emergency responders to arrive if vehicles crashed in the middle.”
Instead, the review will focus on road and rail links between England and Wales and Scotland, they said.
The review published this week could bring the UK Government into conflict with the Welsh Government, after the interim report published in Mrach recommended “relief from congestion for the M4 corridor in South Wales”.
The Welsh Government decided to scrap the M4 relief road in 2019, a decision opposed by the UK Government.
The interim report also recommended better port capacity at Holyhead, and connections from Ynys Môn and the north of Wales coast to Merseyside and Manchester for freight and passengers.
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